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.

Analysis

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
    +6

    Comment number 237.

    "Real security and peace of mind in retirement". Is he that far out of touch that he actually believes that £110 per week brings with it security and peace of mind. The state pension must be "means tested". There are, we're told 1Mmillionaires in Britain. Stop their state pension first saving around 6 billion a year. Increase the pension to the less well of using that 6 billion. Just the start...

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 236.

    If the pension were a living wage the this would be welcomed by those who do and will get a state pension by 2020.
    Those who have in the past worked and created the wealth of this country are appalled by the actions of Governments over the last 30 years.
    This is a pledge that is as hollow as "we are all in it together" I have no faith in the pledges or manifesto promises from any political party.

  • rate this
    -40

    Comment number 235.

    Stop ya bleating. The next generation won't be able to afford their own home or provide for their own retirement.

    But nevermind, as long as they can pay for your pensions.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 234.

    OK it's simple!! - you pay in money to a private and/or public scheme, NI - then you are entitled to withdraw later in life. AH!! Forgot -governments plunder private pensions schemes (remember Gordon Brown) and use NI to fund current spending. Result pension pot is empty. Solution - screw next generation!!!! (JS aged 67 next month).

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 233.

    Any policy that badly affects the UK is implemented immediately, such as more immigrants and huge wage increases for him and his mates. Any policy that might help the UK such as this pension-lock or an EU referendum might happen AFTER we secure his cushy job for another 5 years. I wonder if anyone is actually stupid enough to believe his lies...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 232.

    @196 PeterG

    "By doing this he has effectively sold the future of today's children for the votes of yesterday's children."

    Yes, but he has effectively lost the vote of so many young people, older people are all he has left.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 231.

    190.Vampire
    7 Minutes ago
    If you're under 50 and haven't got a personal pension sorted out, I suggest you get a move on. Even £100k at retirement doesn't get you very much. Average person will live to about 85, so at 65 you'll get about £100k/20 = £5k per year.
    /////
    And have Gordon Brown's successor come along and steal half of it as Gordon did. Private pensions should be ring-fenced.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 230.

    Average life expectancy for men 1950 = 67. In 1990 = 73. In 2010 = 78 (source = ONS).
    State pension was 65 for men retiring 1950-2013. So that's an extra 11+ years of retired life for men since 1950 and 5+ since 1990.
    Pensions are calculated on (a) how much money available and (b) how long it might be paid.
    Live longer = less pension, get it later or pay more NI.
    Any of these = compaints!!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 229.

    A David Cameron "pledge to protect" is the political equivalent of a football chairman's expression of confidence in his manager.
    For details see 2010 pledge to protect the NHS...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 228.

    tigerroach


    .............that's the way the state pension has always worked??

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 227.

    Lets be clear, this has nothing to do with protecting the income of pensioners, but everything to do with protecting the conservative vote.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 226.

    The national pension is a bad joke. No future government would try to destroy it more than the current one and no current or future government would dare try to remove it or lower it any more than this government. This government will be gone in 2015 and the word Tory will be a bitter memory.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 225.

    @217 ... well that told them!

    Seriously where will that attitude leave you in latter life?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 224.

    NI needs to be increased TOMORROW to fund an across the board rise in the state pension.

    No ifs, no buts and certainly no more "pension credits" as we all know that for most people the fact that pension credits will be higher than saving your self.

    Come on Dave - make the pledge.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 223.

    I vaguely remember a Panorama programme comparing Dutch and UK pensions. For the same cash input the UK pensions paid substantially less than the Dutch. If we didn't have so many cosy middle men taking their cut we would be a lot better off. Its about time we had a public forensic audit, of what % they are taking

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 222.

    Of course the country cannot afford decent pensions, health and other benefits. Millions are unemployed, working part time when they need full time work at decent pay rates to allow them to make a contribution to society, not insults from government. Manufacturing decimated. Paying for unnecessary wars.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 221.

    This is nice for the current group of pensioners. For anyone retiring in 20+ years it offers no guarantees. Today's taxes pay today's pensioners. We will pay a lot of taxes now and get nothing in the future because there will not be enough tax payers to pay for state pensions. What I object to most is the constantly moving targets which make it impossible to plan for your future.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 220.

    207 WHITECROW
    Join the club - many people of pension-age (or nearing it) can't afford those things either. If you don't work in London, salaries are derisory and in certain areas house prices are high because London is commutable - even at £9K a year to get there. I can't afford to retire - cheers Gordon Bruin!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 219.

    If David Cameron says he is so committed to the State Pension, why doesn’t he just get committing right now instead of offering it as a bribe at the next Election?
    Sounds about as phoney as his “commitment” (sic) to an EU Referendum.
    The fact that he has brought this subject up at all makes me very worried for the future of State Pensions.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 218.

    182. the state pension is NOT a benefit but a right. the vast majority of people work and pay tax and N.I. for the entirety of their working lives to receive it.
    Cameron managed to find the money to wage war on Libya and was pushing for the same in Syria, as well as trident and HS2. Why not invest that cash into our own people?
    The notion that we are broke is a convenient lie.

 

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