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 1377.

    You are 5 time more likely to win the lottery then find a honest MP.
    Dave me thinks you just say what will get you a few votes......But it`s to late for that.
    You can`t shut the stable door because it`s been repossessed and the horse has been given a council house in the peoples republic Peckham.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1376.

    Mr. Cameron can make all these promises; because as he re-designs the health service no one or very few (ordinary tax payers) will live to retirement at 70. You may not like it but you have to concede its a cunning plan.

    Also by making heating your home un-affordable it will speed up the demise of the Plebs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1375.

    Mr Cameron, are you going to reinstate final salary pensions just as politicians have managed to keep and substantially improved ...... as we are all in together ..... are we hell ... more like we keep getting scraps from the rich mans tables again

  • rate this

    Comment number 1374.

    Blatant electioneering

    I wish Cameron would concentrate on stopping immigration of low skilled people to the UK and renegotiating our relationship with the EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1373.

    I do not believe what they say I would like a document they sign to say what they have promised they will do and if for some reason they cannot they would have to resign and call another election The only problem it would cost the country a fortune

  • rate this

    Comment number 1372.

    Why are the older generation telling us we (the younger generation) should be grateful and seemingly owe them something. A country needs to pay tax to function... every generation will pay it. The older generation have the blessing of final salary pensions, the younger generation DO NOT! Count yourselves lucky and stop thinking you're better than everyone else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1371.

    1343 fishinmad.
    I completely agree, selfishness is rife out there with these "people" who seem not to care that their children and grandchildren now struggle to survive in this completely self serving nation built on the foundation of greed we all see in most of these comments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1370.

    Interestingly the cost of providing health care for foreigners is estimated at £2bn which is exactly the same amount of money needed to provide free care to those of us that that need residential care because of Dementia etc. Also we should remember that Gordon Brown raided all our pension pots when New Labour came to power. Lets have a triple lock on preventing exploitation of the elderly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1369.

    Worried about the next election Davey boy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1368.

    thank you david for using the word will its usualy could or maybe/ positive thinking old boy well done x

  • rate this

    Comment number 1367.

    I have no problems paying for a higher state pension, but I do object to having to work until I'm 68 to get mine (as well as my company pension) whilst so many others got to go from age 50 onwards.

    Lower the retirement age and get our young people into work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1366.

    "And I do wonder whether my taxes and NI are being put away for my old age, or being spent now." Eliza

    No need to wonder, I'll tell you - they're being spent now. No amount of tax or NI you pay is put away for your old age. All current taxes are spent on current spending. All state pensions are paid by current tax payers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1365.

    @1330 BdV
    I don't report comments, even if they're innaccurate or offensive. Maybe it was one of numerous people paid by corporations and governments to troll the Internet, push agendas, and spy on people.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1364.

    Cameron is keeping faith with those who have saved for their retirement (knocked by Brown's attack on pension tax relief and the introduction of Pension Credit).
    The amount you have had to save before exceeding Pension Credit means, for many saving only helps subsidise the non-savers.
    A small step to recompense thrift.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1363.

    Cameron's cheap move doesn't appear to have impressed. Too obvious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1362.

    It is certainly necessary that those who contributed should recieve a state pension, & that also, all other elderly people recieve a basic pension - who wants to live in a country where the elderly suffer, whoever they are?

    And yet... what proportion of public investment goes to the young vs the old?

    And I do wonder whether my taxes and NI are being put away for my old age, or being spent now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1361.

    Can anyone tell me when politicians actually kept promises made to the general population? Promises that didn't screw the rest of us over and did not make them rich in the process?


  • rate this

    Comment number 1360.

    @1344. mocker

    Perhaps because he has taken a realistic view that official DWP unemployment figures are grossly understated (by manipulation) and therefore unreliable. Three people working 10 hours per week does not equate to one person in full time employment!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1359.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1358.

    And Nick Clegg today revealed an astonishing understanding of the pensions crisis and proposed a compelling solution.

    He had this to say: " "


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