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 1177.

    Many people are commenting on the public sector pensions and how good they are and they should be toned down. Do these people realise they aren't free, I work in the public sector and 7% of my salary is taken every month and put into MY pension pot. So they aren't free. Many people in the public sector actually contribute more. You need to check your facts before spewing out such rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1176.


    You are legally and practically wrong.

    You have never paid into a state pension pot, no such pension pot exists. The 'contributions' made via National Insurance are not pension contributions, neither are they insurance payments - it is a name only. This money goes into the generic taxation pot to pay for current account government expenses in exactly the same way income tax or VAT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1175.

    4 Minutes ago

    Dave, I no longer believe a word you say.

    Roll on 2015.
    Indeed, the trouble is though Labour are hopelessly as bad http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25607578

  • rate this

    Comment number 1174.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1173.

    Even if Cameron keeps this promise - and that's a big if - he will continue the punitive interest rates on savings which rob billions of savings interest from pensioners every year. Giving with one hand, taking with the other, same old, same old from Cameron.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1172.

    This gives a good explanation of the state pension system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzi_scheme

    This explains why successive governments (of all colours) keep swelling the population and constantly strive for economic growth. If you or I were to come up with such a scheme we would rightly be in prison.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1171.

    As a policeman I already pay £400 a month into my work pension. The government spent the last two years filling the news with ANTI police stories to turn the public against us and thus allow the destruction of the police pension. They know police officers can't run after criminals at 65 but now insist they will. Its a ploy to sack the elderly policeman and not pay him a full pension. cheers dave!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1170.

    This seems like good politics. If Cameron didn't make a commitment to the elderly the Left on here would clobber him for being uncaring, so correctly he's going for the votes. We are also an aging society.

    It's no more than what Labour did for 13 years, the party of interest groups and those on welfare.

    Gordon Brown stole your pensions in 2008, not the Conservatives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1169.

    Once again Cameron puts treating a fashionable cause before common sense at the expense of the poor who are bleeding his high taxes

  • rate this

    Comment number 1168.

    1142. farkyss

    You will get attacked for suggesting the state pension should be treated as a means tested benefit, but I somewhat agree.

    If the 'wealthy' among us no longer received a state pension, perhaps those who do need it could receive a bit more money.

    It shouldn't be topping up a pensioners second holiday fund, but a means to stop pensioners living in poverty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1167.

    "In the developed world, only Mexicans receive less proportionately from the State pension than British workers."
    FYI: http://money.aol.co.uk/2013/11/28/uk-state-pension-is-lowest-in-europe/
    Although it doesn't delve into level of contributions and State Additional Pension basically the more you put in (net contributions - benefits) the more you get out. Many Pensioners get more than £110 /wk!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1166.

    1114.Sally the Rothbardian
    Your questions are on the old legal joke 'Have you stop beating your wife yet?'

    Pension annuities are being devalued because businesses want low borrowing costs. Borrowers, as you keep reminding us, are being marginalised by an economy that encourages addiction to debt. This would not change in a libertarian society as we would have even more bills.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1165.

    state pension of £110 is good if you are a home owner

  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.

    I think Cameron and the other Old Etonians who rule us need to be honest and write their election pledges as "We will continue to lie to you as we know you usually believe us initially".

  • rate this

    Comment number 1163.

    The triple lock guarantee has guaranteed a real terms pension cut every year since it was introduced ie less than RPI which is the only measure of true like for like inflation. CPI is fiddled by a calculation that thinks the average of 1,2 and 3 is 1.82 whereas any schoolchild knows it is 2. That's how they make sure state pension and pay increases are less than inflation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    If this is electioneering, I'd sack Lynton Crosby. And distribute his salary amongst the neediest of the pensioners. In comparison with civilised nations, we do treat the old with contempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

    There is something seriously wrong in this country. As others have pointed out we get a raw deal compared to our European counterparts with similar GDP's.

    Just don't be fooled into thinking that either the Conservatives or Labour will change this, neither care about you. We need a fresh start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    @1104 David Dun

    It's not just the Tories that have stolen your future - what they've done is in response to the enormous mess left behind by Labour. And when I say enormous I mean ENORMOUS.

    Don't forget, the banking collapse happened BEFORE the last election, and was a direct result of Gordon Brown - as Chancellor and as PM, compounded by George Bush and the fiscally illiterate Republicans

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    When are they going to bring back the special tax privileges for pension funds?

    If they do that then they'll be going someway towards righting the wrongs Gordon Brown made when he was Chancellor. I can't believe that some Labour supporters still try and talk up their record on pensions. Yes they introduced auto-enrollment, but they brought out pension funds to their knees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1158.

    The state pension is not a benefit...It's what a lot of people have worked all their lives for...I empathise with young people who can't get a job but it doesn't do you any good to criticise the baby boomers for being born when they were...What do you want...?...An apology...?


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