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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  • Comment number 1517.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 1516.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1513.

    One of the greatest attributes Cameron has is lying. Conservatives are cheats and liars. The entire Conservative Party has been built on a foundation of cheating and lying. If this 'man' is saying he will guarantee state pensions you can bet the first thing he would do if re-elected is to freeze state pensions. Anything he says should be taken with a very very large pinch of salt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1512.


    Whereas you know of a means to continually give?

  • Comment number 1511.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1510.

    if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election ?
    Er David?
    Lets see what happens in Scotland first on the Sept 18th Election.
    With only ONE single Scottish Conservative left sitting on his bum out of 650 MPs in the house of Commons ,I wouldn.t hold my breath Dave that your going to win anything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1509.

    Houser 1482
    I got my bus pass at 60 but don't think it should be available until actual retirement.
    There also seem to be a misunderstanding of winter fuel payment, by many, Its paid per household not per person.
    As for the Serps element of pensions, this was brought in in the early 70's so I paid into that for over 30yrs for a few pounds more on my state pension.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1508.

    The current retired generation will be wealthier than the current working generation, therefore they should not be given an extra generous pension. State pension should only go up by inflation, not the higher of wages and inflation. The Conservatives are just trying to buy votes rather than managing the long-term economy properly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1507.

    Thank you Neil :)

    Asking who will look after the poor without the welfare nanny state is like asking: "who will pick the cotton without that state institution of slavery".

    We don't need to outsource care of the poor to an insolvent welfare state. @1475.Blythkeith is worried that without a law giving him your wages, by force, he'd need to be more self-reliant (heaven forbid).

  • rate this

    Comment number 1506.

    Perhaps David could make a new years resolution to stop treating the nation like we are all idiots we can see right through you and you chums and know its all about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer so David should stop lying saying he is going to help pensioners if he is serious stop taxing them straight away and double the winter fuel allowance for the poorest

  • rate this

    Comment number 1505.

    Pensioners have, as youngsters are currently doing now, paid their dues, so they should and hopefully will, recieve their hard earned pension now and in the future.

    Successive Governments always manage to eagerly find money to fund/start wars, but when there's a lack of funds for the NHS, pensions, the homeless etc, money suddenly appears to be too tight to mention. Shame on them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1504.

    The statepension is in Europe the lowest by fare
    a scandle and outcome of decades of useless gouvernments gambeling the pension pot away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1503.

    Time Ed(dave and nick) Made Pledges Equally Robust Otherwise they are just a waste of space.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1502.

    Of course it appeasl to Mr Cameron's values. He wants and needs the votes. He knows pension spending is over half of the benefits budget, which is why he has been squeezing everything else.
    A pity private landlords are starting to refuse to take benefits claimants, employers pay eastern europeans below minimum wage, and unemployment and zero hours jobs are so high

  • rate this

    Comment number 1501.

    Paid contributions since I was 16, turned 65 on 26 Dec..first pension pay last week £140.85 = £7325/per year, nice to know were all in this together, as you keep telling us Dave.
    £7325 from a private annuity would cost you c.£150K = £3K pa paid in during yr working life. I doubt you did anything like that through NIC - so stop moaning! And what's your point about "Dave"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1500.

    As a Civil Servant this guy is on cloud 9 hopefully he will fall off. This government seriously reduced the Civil Service Pension which for many was the bonus after many years faithful service on low wages. I had 1% pay increase after 4 years the MPs have given themselves a massive rise
    The sooner the Conservatives are thrown out the better and the Lib Dems are a failed party

  • rate this

    Comment number 1499.

    It worries me when certain MPs refer to pension "benefits" when we have actually paid for our state pensions via National Insurance Contributions all our working lives. Is there a hidden agenda somewhere?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1498.

    David - Tory profligacy is just as evident as Labour's.The weary cliche you post is pure propaganda.Can you explain where Hague and Cameron were going to secure the funds for they idiotic plan to engage militarily in Syria?No other tory I've asked has been able to give an answer.


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