More news out about what will be in the Liberal Democrat general election manifesto (preview here): the Triple Lock for pensioners, one of the party’s achievements in coalition and not to be confused with the party’s internal triple lock, is in there once again.
Here’s what the party news release says about a policy which the Conservatives are flirting with abandoning:
Pensioners will receive at least an extra £772 per year by 2021 under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the Triple Lock. The party are making the commitment to older people unlike the Conservatives who have repeatedly refused to give the guarantee.
This guarantee means the state pension is expected to be worth at least £137.15-a-week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017.
Thanks to the Liberal Democrats’ triple lock guarantee, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%. The triple lock was a key demand from the Liberal Democrats in Coalition negotiations.
Labour increased the State Pension by just 75p in 2000. Help the Aged described the 75p increase as “just unacceptable”. Labour had 13 years to restore the earnings link to pensions which Margaret Thatcher severed in 1980. The Liberal Democrats restored the link to earnings within six weeks of getting into government.
The Conservatives have hinted strongly that they will drop the Triple Lock. Theresa May has said she will not be drawn on whether it will be included in the manifesto, and Conservative senior figures have spoken out against it.
Commenting on the plan, Sir Vince Cable said:
“Liberal Democrats believe that an important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly. We will protect the Triple Lock unlike the Conservatives.
“The guiding principle of the pensions system must be to ensure that none are left unable to meet their basic needs for survival and participation in society, and that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
“A Lib Dem Pensions Minister introduced the triple lock guarantee to protect the state pension during Coalition. We delivered on our manifesto commitment to increase the Basic State Pension by whatever is highest out of CPI inflation, average earnings or 2.5%.”