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 1197.

    The more I see of what is happening in Britain, the more it scares me. The country is becoming more and more Americanised. Politicians and political parties now are allowed to be bribed by big money interests, and workers are being made to work for more years (providing they are able and the jobs are there). How much worse will it get?
    Peter D

  • rate this

    Comment number 1196.

    Cameron has not spoken against the IMF's proposed savings tax, which the EU has already made law. Around 10% of our savings are to be grabbed by the EU to maintain EU fat cats' hugely over privileged life styles. Sorry, Cameron, I don't trust anything you say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1195.

    "David Cameron pledges to 'protect' state pension"
    I believe him.
    What he’s saying is that he’ll keep one of the very lowest pensions of any modern industrialized European country at the same miserably low level.
    Now that’s the type of promises he’d love to keep.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1194.

    When people complain about pensions in this country, they fail to include the means tested elements which many pensioners receive. When these, e.g. pension credit, housing benefit. council tax benefit are added in, the amount received in hand can easily exceed £400 a week, more than many working people receive. When you add free travel, winter fuel allowance, the OAPension isn't so bad!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1193.


    'yes a harrow warning of the dangers of rampant Socialist, so luckily not applicable in the UK where people have firmly rejected that murderous, failed creed.'

    Socialism doesn't do too badly in Scandinavia tho' does it? Would you rather have a Swedish pension or a UK one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1192.

    He was going to look at the fact that some pensioners are extremely well off, and perhaps take somethings away. Now he's been leant on, by people who vote for him and fund him so he changes his mind
    For those who say 'the state pension is a Ponzi scheme' why didn't we sort this when we had the north sea oil windfall?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1191.

    Retirement should be something to look forward to

    BUT for millions of low paid workers it is something to dread.

    A piece of rope or bottle of sleeping tablets may seem the answer to avoid living the rest of your life in abject poverty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1190.

    @1126 1958inbetweener re1114 Sally
    "Oh no - the Kraken wakes !!!"
    LOL !

    Don't worry though, those rothbarbarianism logic tentacles are pretty mushy.
    And s/he does manage to brighten up even the dullest Sunday with his/her hearty jokes.
    Almost as dröle as Cameron with the 2.5% increase !
    How much will he be getting again ?
    And his banker friends ?
    And what about Amazon's et al's taxes ?
    LOL !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1189.

    why make a fuss about pensions in this era of corporate greed and political graft , if you live long enough to draw a pension you deserve every penny . Many of us will be dead before we get ours worked to death by an uncaring right wing elite . nasty party is back

  • rate this

    Comment number 1188.

    The younger generation are the victims of being continualy told the left wing fairytale.That nanny state wil look after you.What they have seen is politicians of all parties waste their taxes on playing father christmas with their money.From the farewell state to the over bloated bureaucratic nightmare we now live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1187.

    @1155:"To all those complaining about paying my pension: I contributed to the age of 65. I also paid for your education and health."

    I'm paying for your pension right now. I'll still be paying until 68. Longer, for less, with a dash of condescension from your generation to boot.

    1158:"It doesn't do you any good to criticise the baby boomers...What do you want...?...An apology...?"

  • rate this

    Comment number 1186.

    This multimillionaire is clearly deluded. Anything outside Oxford or the South-east he thinks is a foreign planet! The man could not even tell you how much a bottle of milk costs this silver spoon Eton boy is only PM because Nick said so & NOT YOU looking at the poll out today I suggest you start packing Dave, then you can return with Nick back to the City with the Royal Mail in your back pocket!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1185.

    @1158. Clive
    The state pension is not a benefit...It's what a lot of people have worked all their lives for...
    Sadly you are so wrong.
    The unemployed are taking more out of the system than they contributed; they receive a benefit.
    Pensioners are taking more out of the system than they put into it; they receive a benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1184.

    1107. Jaykay
    Some of us did contribute more through a scheme called SERPS.
    This was scraped last year & the money taken without consultation – more Government lies about “Hard Working People”.
    No UK Gov’ can be trusted on Pensions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1183.

    1125 "Anyone read Animal Farm and the retirement plan, promise you the this and that, then keep raising the age limit so no one collects" - yes a harrow warning of the dangers of rampant Socialist, so luckily not applicable in the UK where people have firmly rejected that murderous, failed creed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1182.

    Just like the University Fees would not go up if we voted for the Lib Dems at the last one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1181.

    We are "allowed" to comment on a subject that promotes hate between generations?

    Face it, Cameron you may not be "in it" with the rest of us but we ARE in it together, and when we get our act together, as we must, that will be the only way that changes the march into totalitarianism that world governments want.

    This is the BBC folks, pitting generation again each other.

    Class war next

  • rate this

    Comment number 1180.

    Expedient crap from Cameron..

  • rate this

    Comment number 1179.

    People in their sixties and older have more to worry about than a pension. I suspect that most of the age group most vociferous on this site are much younger. I will swap my pension for your youth, -want to? Thought not,you whinging little brats. Now get a job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1178.

    Peanuts to what Fred The Shread got for f++++++ up the country.


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