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.


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

    Comment number 837.

    @822.chris ivory

    ''...Buying off gullible pensioners...''

    Jees the tories can't win. If they had frozen pensions for 5 years they would be called the nasty party and accused of targeting poor pensioners.

    Yep the tories are preparing for 2015 by bribing the electorate but Labour remain the masters at this particular tactic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 836.

    And paid for by a Ponzi scheme of ever increasing numbers of immigrant labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 835.

    Keeps his core support. Remember some pensioners have only got the state pension, and it's not down to everyone spending on pleasure - often it was never having anything left over. The bankers for example, and MP's too have wonderful pensions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 834.

    I love the youngsters that say pensioners don't understand the way the pension system works, well I say to it is you that don't understand. We contributed to national insurance which was supposed to be a separate pot to pay for pensions etc. This was the guarantee we were given on joining. The fact that the government decided to use that pot as extra money like general taxation is not our fault.

  • rate this

    Comment number 833.

    "State pension in Sweden- approx £25000 pa"

    That's untrue. You're guaranteed a state minimum pension (£4800pa), any extra comes from a progressive work pension (the more you earned the higher the pension).

    So to receive a £25kpa you would have to have been earning an average salary of £52500pa.

  • rate this

    Comment number 832.

    829 RT333
    At least you are getting an increase!

  • rate this

    Comment number 831.

    Sorry Steve the Fireman(795), I really do not believe you were paying £320 a month towards your pension 28 years ago, if you were you were on a lot higher salary than the majority of workers in this country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 830.

    Sorry Mr C but too little too late. Too many promises, too many broken. You had your opportunity and you blew it and I am a lifelong Tory supporter. You have been weak and ineffective. We need someone who is strong and will stand up and defend this country and you are not that person. Not at all sure there is anyone who is able right now, certainly not Millibland or, God help us, Balls!

  • rate this

    Comment number 829.

    I'm so excited. I can't wait to see how far my 47p per day will stretch!

  • rate this

    Comment number 828.

    As someone approaching 65 I feel in two minds - but putting my own self interest aside I do not see how the a combination of State pension, the benefits system and the NHS are affordable any longer. No politician wants to grasp the nettle, but we have become too reliant on the State, which squanders money and is completely inefficient.
    Time to "get real"? Clearly not....

  • rate this

    Comment number 827.

    try living on a pension? try living on jsa !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 826.

    809. G

    I don't believe I will get to see my state pension, or if I do, I will be too old to enjoy.

    I'm entirely sure what would happen if a total economic breakdown occurred either.

    I wouldn't necessarily invest in property quite yet. Wait for interest rates to increase before another wave of repossessions hit us...

  • rate this

    Comment number 825.

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

    Hahahahahaa He does not give a toss about people. He thinks of himself and his cronies. We are all in this together hahahahaha

  • rate this

    Comment number 824.

    How about tying pension increases in line with MP salary increases?

  • rate this

    Comment number 823.

    @789 This country is 'Plenty Rich' just not for the likes of us common C2 working class. The money is there but just like the Tories have always done. THEY ARE CONSERVING it for themselves and themselves only, why else do you think they are called CONSERVATIVE.They MUST protect their wealth at all costs and keep the common man in his/her place so they can continue to subsidise their lifestyles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 822.

    Buying off gullible pensioners. Dignity is not about money in the real world, although it may well be, in within Cameron's circles of friends, stupid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 821.

    As all of our current taxes are being spent bailing out the banks I guess he is trying to show that he has to draw the line somewhere and being accused of stealing pensioners money to pay bankers bonuses would look bad. Is he still hoping to bring in the gagging law so that charities and other groups cannot comment on such controversial issues?

  • rate this

    Comment number 820.

    776. Tim Browning

    Why all the negs? Was it because I pointed out that Ed's new policy was to tirelessly deliver what has already been delivered by Europe.


  • rate this

    Comment number 819.

    If "protecting" pensions means the same as "protecting" the disabled's benefits, Cameron, as usual, means nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 818.

    In years to come..the name David Cameron will be equated to one thing....LYING through his teeth...worth remembering that this paragon of fiscal restraint and his very very rich wife ..claimed DLA for their passed son..just going to show..that even Multi Millionaires need that little bit more !!!!!!!!!!!!!Wonder what IDS would have to say about that..would he call them FECKLESS !!!


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