Sleaze row engulfs House of Commons has poured new inquiry into MPs’ decision to scrap state pension triple lock, with peers demanding they reconsider policy.
MEPs will today consider a House of Lords amendment to the Social Security Bill (upgrade of benefits) which seeks to reintroduce the triple lock.
It comes as MPs ask difficult questions about lucrative second jobs.
“The irony is that MPs earn thousands of other jobs, but they try to prevent retirees from receiving a decent pension when many [older people] is already in poverty, ”said Labor comrade Prem Sikka.
The triple lock policy increases the national pension by the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5 percent each year. But the government scrapped the policy for April 2022 because the pandemic distorted earnings. Changing the legislation to a double lock will save the government around £ 5 billion a year.
This means that rather than the elderly getting an increase of about eight percent during earnings, their income will increase by 3.1 percent below inflation.
The decision has backfired in the House of Lords, where peers say retirees will struggle in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and that the government breaks an election manifesto promise to honor the triple lock.
The House of Lords amendment, tabled by Conservative peers and former pension minister Baroness Ros Altmann, seeks to reintroduce the triple lock, but allows the government to change the earnings rate. However, Lord Sikka supports giving pensioners the full income-related increase due to the rising cost of living.
Lord Sikka said MPs would support the amendment “if there is any decency” and hoped they would realize they were “wrong” to get rid of the triple lock in the first place.
“Do [MPs] really live in the same world? People are fighting, ”he said.
Lord Sikka did not accept any argument that the triple lock was too expensive to afford.
“The government is making the agenda young versus old in an ugly way. The young people are getting older one day. Poor pensions today will be inherited by young people. ”
Baroness Altmann said: “The government’s plans to abandon the earnings link in the triple lock-in promise will leave millions of pensioners, especially older women, with a real income cut, just as they are struggling with sky-high bills for household fundamentals. Ministers may think it is fine to do this only for a year, but just this year is a terrible year to choose.
“After a budget in which the chancellor found money to lower taxes on banks and alcohol taxes, it is unjustifiable to claim that it is unaffordable to increase state pensions in line with income … MPs will have the opportunity to demonstrate that the government’s plans are wrong and Lords has offered them a compromise solution that would still protect pensions in real terms without using the full 8.3 per cent increase in income because the number can be adjusted to take account of the pandemic. ”
It seems unlikely MPs will support the change on Monday, as it would mean Conservatives defying three-line whips.
Baroness Altmann called on parliamentarians to make a “positive difference to the lives of millions of voters directly and to uphold the principles by which they were elected”.
“I do not hold my breath, but I really hope that either MPs vote in favor of the Lord’s compromise amendments or that the ministers accept them on their own.”