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Boris Johnson Rules Out Treasury Plan To Suspend Pensions Triple Lock For A Year

Boris Johnson has rejected reports the government wants to pause the pensions triple lock for a year (Alamy)

3 min read

The prime minister has confirmed he is “fully committed” to the pensions triple lock after speculation the Treasury wants to suspend the policy for a year to save money.

A Conservative party election manifesto promise, it guarantees the state pension increases in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher – for a year.

But with wages set to jump by as much as 8% as the UK economy rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, the cost of the pension pledge could be pushed beyond £5billion.

There have been reports the Treasury will look to pause the triple lock for a year to try and save money, but Downing Street ruled that out this lunchtime.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson told reporters: "The Prime Minister made clear this morning that he didn't recognise a lot of the speculation.

"On income tax, we've been clear that there was a promise made at the election that we would not raise the rate of income tax and we stand by that.

"We are committed to the triple lock.”

The spokesperson added: “It is important to say that the final figures are still unclear and the uprating work takes place in the annual review, which takes place later this year.”

Pressed whether the review gave the Treasury "wriggle room” to pause the triple lock, they added: "We're just simply making the point that there is significant uncertainty around the trajectory of average earnings and whether there will be the spike that has been forecasted."

Speaking during a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire earlier today, Johnson addressed questions over whether the triple lock would be suspended due to artificial wage inflation when the furlough scheme ends.

"I'm reading all sorts of stuff at the moment which I don't recognise at all about the Government's plans," Johnson said. 

"The single most important thing for the economy and indeed paying for the recovery, is to ensure that we continue cautiously but irreversibly to unlock and get our economy moving again.

"That is the priority of the government and we are working very hard on that.

"At the moment it still looks to me like July 19 is a terminus point and you can see what is happening already."

He continued: "We are seeing employment up, jobs up, vacancies up - we've got a lot of demand now and we want to get things moving as fast as we possibly can, but in a sustainable way."

The business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng also said he does not believe the flagship pensions policy will be paused.  "The triple lock is something which we have been committed to for a number of years now," he told LBC this morning. 

"There has never been any suggestion that would be changed and I am sure it will be maintained.

"It is obviously a matter for the Chancellor to think about but I don't think there is any chance he will change it."

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