‘Triple-lock’ policy that guarantees increase in basic state pension each year could be ditched for weaker ‘double lock’ and money used for social care instead.
Theresa May is seriously considering replacing the “triple lock”, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year, with a less generous “double lock”, and spending some of the money saved on social care.
The existing system guarantees that the basic state pension will increase each year by whichever is the largest of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%, but it has become expensive to fund during a period when prices and wages growth have been low.
It is understood that Downing Street is weighing up whether a more affordable “double lock”, which removed the 2.5% minimum annual rise, would be politically sellable.
May hinted that the policy, introduced under the coalition, was under review at prime minister’s questions. She would only say that “pension incomes would continue to increase” under a Conservative government, in response to a direct question on the future of the triple lock from SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.
Labour would leap on the abandonment of the triple lock as a raid on pensioners’ finances. Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s campaigns chief, said on Wednesday: “At today’s prime minister’s questions, Theresa May talked about the triple lock like it’s a thing of the past and, under the Conservatives, it risks being consigned to history.”