David Cameron pledges to 'protect' state pension

 

David Cameron: "I want people to know that they can have dignity and security in their old age"

The state pension will continue to rise by at least 2.5% a year until 2020 if the Conservatives win the next election, David Cameron has said.

The PM pledged to keep the "triple lock" system, which ensures the state pension goes up by whichever is higher - inflation, wages or 2.5%.

He said it was "fair" to prioritise pensions even at a time when benefits for younger people were being slashed.

Labour said it supported the triple lock "in principle".

'Dignity and security'

Mr Cameron has described the "triple lock" announcement as the "first plank" of the Conservative general election manifesto.

But in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he rejected suggestions it was a purely political move aimed at attracting older voters back to the Tory fold.

Analysis

All politicians know there are votes in appealing to the older generation.

That is why Labour and the Lib Dems are unlikely to oppose David Cameron's state pension "guarantee" despite concerns it will increase the transfer of wealth in the UK from young to old.

But Mr Cameron may have a particular set of more mature voters in mind with his "triple lock" announcement.

A new poll by Lord Ashcroft suggests Tory voters are deserting the party for UKIP in even greater numbers than previously thought.

Research last year by YouGov suggested UKIP draws the majority of its support from older people - far more so than the traditional "big three" parties.

This is one way for Mr Cameron to tempt them back to the fold without getting involved in potentially bruising rows with Nigel Farage about immigration and the EU.

"It's a choice based on values, based on my values." he told Andrew Marr.

"I want people when they reach retirement to know that they can have dignity and security in their old age.

"People who have worked hard, who have done the right thing, who have provided for their families, they should then know they will get a decent state pension and they don't have to worry about it lagging behind prices or earnings and I think that's the right choice for the country."

He said the government also had to do more to help young people such as increasing the number of apprenticeships.

He refused to drawn on whether the Conservatives would cut back on pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel payment, free bus passes and television licences for the over 75s.

The Lib Dems and Labour have both supported the pensions "triple lock" in principle but have made no commitment about whether they would keep it after the next election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "We will set out our plans in the manifesto for all of our tax and spending proposals.

"That's the right time to do it but nobody should be in any doubt about my commitment to the triple-lock on pensions."

Asked whether the triple lock would be included in any welfare cap, he said: "In the short term we've said they're not part of the social security cap. Obviously in the longer term we have to keep an eye on these things, the long term forecasts for pensions."

'Gravy first'

Mr Miliband said he was more concerned about David Cameron's hint, in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, that he was hoping to be able to offer tax cuts as the economy improved and left open the door to a further reduction in the top rate of income tax.

Ed Miliband: "Nobody should be in any doubt about my commitment to the triple-lock on pensions"

"So he wants further tax cuts for the richest in our society at a time when ordinary families are facing a cost of living crisis," added Mr Miliband.

Former Labour minister and long-standing poverty campaigner Frank Field warned there would have to be tax increases to pay for any "triple-lock" pledge and asked why "yet again pensioners should be exempt when everybody else is being called on, quite rightly, to make sacrifices".

He told the BBC News Channel: "Younger families, with children, who are hungry deserve a similar amount of dignity, particularly if they are working.

"If you are promising one group - a group that is more certain to vote - that they will get the gravy first, you are saying to others there is less for you... and somebody is going to have to pay the taxes to foot that bill."

The triple lock was introduced by the coalition and means many pensions have risen by about £15 per week since 2010.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that the state pension age would increase to 68 in the mid-2030s and to 69 in the late 2040s.

It will rise to 66 by 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Mr Cameron has previously faced criticism - including from senior Conservative cabinet members - for sticking to a 2010 election promise not to cut benefits for the elderly.

But Paul Green from Saga, which specialises in products and services for the over-50s, said: "David Cameron's commitment to the triple lock for the state pension will be warmly welcomed by British pensioners, giving them confidence that their lifetime of work will be properly valued by society."

The triple lock has already helped protect pensioners' incomes at a time when earnings growth has been low.

As a result, the basic state pension will be about £440 a year higher from next April than it would have been if it had risen in line with average earnings since 2011-12.

The triple lock meant the basic state pension rose by 5.2% in 2012, or £5.30 a week - the largest cash rise ever seen.

In April 2013, it rose by £2.70 to £110.15 a week - a rise of 2.5%, which was higher than either earnings or inflation.

 

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  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 817.

    It amounts to a bribe to the elderly in order to get re-elected. And if Labour came up with this guarantee we have a good idea what the Con-Dems would be saying about it. Any increase will be swallowed up as the rate of inflation isn't solely based on a pensioner's needs. Food prices as well as fuel bills will no doubt exceed what the government base their inflation figures on. Do not trust them.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 816.

    762

    If you don't know. All our money goes into the same pot

    Car tax, TV license, NI contributions, earnings related tax, shall I go on

    SO for the last 50+ years...YES me and others my age have paid, and dearly, because our fathers fought in the W11 for supposedly a better life.

    If you are not retired yet, try living on 111.00 pounds a week.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 815.

    #765 Not deluded Lynton, downside of last Labour government was Iraq war; recession caused by sub-prime mortgage bubble. My business has gone through three recessions, all while Tories were in power. Have experienced all flavours of government since mid fifties and can assure you, this is the worst the UK has had in that period. Sad that only the Scots have get out of jail free card at present.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 814.

    Paid for 50 years and have a very small pension. So much so I get pension credit and my private pension is reduced in the process. Stop paying for the workshy and close the borders, then we could all have a decent level of income. Think how low house prices would be without immigration and how the NHS, transport and education would be without the vast load of immigrants draining us all.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 813.

    Well, Dave may think he's on to a bit a vote-winner here, but his jingoistic outpourings show he's wetting his pants over ukip ... not only that, but people, including our senior citizens, are getting wise to his wheezes - pretending to give with the one hand, while actually taking with the other. A lame duck PM in this Disunited Kingdom.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 812.

    When will this bunch of bozos realise that they have created the hole in which we now find ourselves.
    All of the income generating organisations which the nations used to own have been sold off to others - many very clever at not paying UK taxes.
    Examples Royal Mail, CEGB (Electricity Generating), Britsh Gas, the Water companies etc. That leaves the gov't's only source of income being taxation.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 811.

    We're pensioners; both did " socially-useful" jobs, paid into a pension scheme and saved. This government has helped us; change from RPI to CPI cut our income, as does the nasty, sneaky granny tax( NOT cancelled like the pasty tax), inflation erodes our savings, huge rises in food and fuel prices, winter fuel payment cut, low interest rates making us to subside the greedy young's huge mortgages.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 810.

    140.AndyC555
    "The non-stop call..is that you should have everything you want and that someone else should pay for it"

    ==

    Don't be silly. People generally expect what's only decent, so far as the country can reasonably afford it.

    Vast amounts have been spent on protecting bankers, assets of the rich, and keeping the UK over militarised. Other EU countries do far, far better.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 809.

    Im 30 and have zero fairth in the pension system, its just a house of cards. There's much better places to invest, look at property (hence the boom) and SEIS. Both have some very nice tax incentives. It does anger me seeing the government aggressively push pensions with their new ad campaign, when they know they haven't got a hope in hell to deliver a cosy retirement.

  • rate this
    +96

    Comment number 808.

    The problem with politicians is they all make pre election promises and as soon as they are elected they forget all about them and do what they like.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 807.

    728. kittykat85
    You need to reassess your age of retirement.
    I’m over 50 & honestly believe I won’t retire until I’m at least 70.
    You are below 30 now, so I think you are being a bit optimistic if you too think you will retire at 70.
    You are right about one though; we might not live long enough to see it.
    Good luck.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 806.

    First they got both partners into full-time work, so many families break-apart under strain; then they got people in Britain working some of the longest hours in Europe, severely reducing quality of life; then they raise the pension age and bring in hordes of cheap labour from abroad. It is never enough because the more our economy generates, the more it's wealth is siphoned off by the few.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 805.

    788, Bobo

    On that income you'd probably qualify for a reduction in your council tax. I suggest you contact your local council.

    £200 per month council tax probably puts you in a band G or H so don't play the poverty card when your house must be worth £600k+!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 804.

    The word "contribution" in the context of state pension is a misnomer. Your "contribution" was a tax to fund state pensions of those drawing it at the time. There is no pensions pot! Today's tax-payer pays for current pensions.
    Is society prepared to pay more tax or should current government spending be biased towards pensions at the expense of other things?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 803.

    corncobuk.

    If I did my job in the Public Sector, as a friend of mine does, I would get slighlty more salary, slightly less hours per week, two weeks more holiday and at 80 less thna one third the pension he will be getting at sixty whatever if he doesn't retire early as most still do.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 802.

    Boring whinging comments about 'useless old people'.When you have put into the system its only fair that you should take out.Too many 'youngsters' these days believe that you take out of a welfare system and not put in. Lots of these elderly people went through WWII and had no choice but to actually sign up. I therefore have no quibbles with people who have earned the right to enjoy their lives

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 801.

    774.alex
    ..Hope we up here say YES this year and be rid of the Tories forever!
    ---
    It's a deal so far as I'm concerned, if you'll kindly tale on the pension liabilities of Gordon Brown & 50 other sacks of rubbish at Westminster when you go.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 800.

    Giving extra to those who need it least, shameless and transparent bribing for votes. I have had to suffer increased contributions for less reward from this government, with no justification since our pension scheme was running in profit, yet now I'll have to pay more for the most affluent age group in society. Pensioners now have benefited from the good times, yet they won't suffer the bad.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 799.

    @758

    You cannot avoid becoming elderly and the state has a duty to make sure these people live in a decent way in the last years of their lives. You can avoid having children that you cannot afford to keep without state help. Only pay towards first two children from state and see money saved. Most elderly people have worked hard and deserve a much greater pension than they get now.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 798.

    @751

    I have no issue with modest public sector pensions of the amount you state. The issue is that many in the public sector receive much more. For example I know a number of ex police officers in the investigation industry who retired in their late 40s on a large lump sum and pensions between £20-30,000 a year. This is unjustifiable and unsustainable.

 

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