Pensions triple lock scrapped for millions of Brits
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The life peer attacked the Government for forcing pensioners to “choose between heating and eating” by failing to honour its tripe lock manifesto pledge. In their 2019 election manifesto, the Conservatives promised to increase state pensions each by 2.5 percent, average earnings, or inflation.
However, the lock was suspended for the 2022-23 financial year due to fears the end of the furlough scheme had led to an artificial spike in the rise in average earnings.
Pensions are now set to rise by 3.1 percent from next April, calculated in accordance with September’s inflation rate, even though prices are set to spike by as much as five percent come next spring.
Lord Sikka told a rally of dozens of pensioners outside Parliament this afternoon: “Despite the triple lock, 2.1 million pensioners, that is about 18 percent of the pensioners, live in poverty and 1.25 million out of these are women.
“The poverty rate amongst pensioners has increased in the past decade.”
He added: “The Government finds it so easy to inflict damage on senior citizens and we are going to say ‘no, no more, this is not acceptable.”
His intervention came on the same day new figures from the Office of National Statistics warned there were more than 60,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales last year.
He warned with fuel prices continuing to surge this year, and the suspension of the triple lock, there was a real danger of more pensioners being plunged into poverty and forced to make tough decisions on whether to use their money for food or heating.
He said: “The proportion of our elderly citizens now living in severe poverty is now five times what it was in 1986.
“It is the largest increase in any major European country and it really should be a matter of national shame.
“Every year some three million people are treated for malnutrition or undernutrition and 1.3 million of these are over 65s.
“Again a matter of national shame.
“So rather than lifting retirees out of poverty, the Government has now suspended the triple lock.”
He added: “The suspension of the triple lock for just one year means that pensioners would be deprived of £30.5billion of payments and there is no other section of the community which has been inflicted with such damage by the Government.
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“Low state pension now forms a lower base for future increases. That means retirees never ever catch up.
Ministers say they remain committed to the state pension triple lock and the mechanism will be reimposed next year.
In September the Government launched a £500million support fund to help vulnerable households through the winter.
The money was made available for local councils to distribute to those most in need from October.
At the time, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Everyone should be able to afford the essentials, and we are committed to ensuring that is the case.
“Our new Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those at risk of struggling to keep up with their bills over the winter, adding to the support the government is already providing to help people with the cost of living.”
The extra funding is on top of other support funding already available.
The Warm Home Discount provides a £140 rebate on energy bills each winter to low-income households and the Cold Weather Payment provides £25 extra a week for poorer households when the temperature is consistently below zero.
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