We must protect the triple lock on pensions ahead of a difficult winter
In the chaos of the last three Prime Ministers, one group has suffered considerably from the uncertainty – our pensioners.
This is evidently the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and as a country, we have a patriotic duty to protect the most vulnerable among us.
With winter approaching, this out of touch government has left them out in the cold, with a hole in their pocket and even harsher days ahead. Rishi Sunak has committed to work on the pledges made in the 2019 Conservative Manifesto. That document is unambiguous about the need for certainty for our pensioners, stating plainly: “We will keep the triple lock”.
It’s high time that the Conservatives stopped taking pensioners for granted
For the second time in a month, pensioners have been plunged into uncertainty over the future of their payments with the new Prime Minister refusing to take anything off the table ahead of the fiscal statement.
The triple lock was a core Liberal Democrat policy brought in by the Coalition government and we are determined to protect it throughout this turbulent time in politics.
The lack of certainty until that statement on the 17 November is deeply unfair to the most vulnerable people in our country – the ones who have worked their whole lives only to be left with a hole in their pocket in retirement.
We must keep the pressure on the government until every pensioner knows how they will pay their bills this winter.
Almost everyone in politics has now accepted that the mini-Budget instituted by former Prime Minister Liz Truss was a disaster. Even with the measures from that event reversed, the Conservatives are still forcing the elderly in our country to pay for the mistakes that were made by an inept government.
Research from the House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats, has found that the impact of inflation on a typical pensioner on a Basic State Pension would be a real terms cut of £3.30 a week, or £171.60 a year. It is simply unacceptable that those most exposed to the impacts of this cost of living are those experiencing these significant falls in their income.
Indeed, the Liberal Democrats would go further than just protecting the triple lock on pensions. More must be done to tackle fuel poverty among our elderly population.
We would double the Warm Homes Discount this year, giving up to £600 to 11.3m pensioners to fight fuel poverty. Our plan would fund this intervention through a one-off Robin Hood tax on the record profits of oil and gas producers and traders, including Russia’s Gazprom trading arm based in London.
I hope to strongly hold the government to account on this matter and highlight the many ways in which the instability and uncertainty is harming people on pensions.
We don’t have another second to lose when it comes to protecting those who have spent a lifetime building our economy and paying into our systems. It’s high time that the Conservatives stopped taking pensioners for granted and guaranteed them a pension they deserve. Liberal Democrats will fight for the triple lock.
Lord Sharkey, Liberal Democrat peer.
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