Midlothian MP calls for U-turn on plans to scrap pensions' Triple Lock

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson has urged the UK government to U-turn on plans to scrap the Triple Lock on pensions and make sure pensioners aren’t squeezed as the cost-of-living soars.

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP).
Midlothian MP Owen Thompson (SNP).

It’s estimated the decision to scrap the Triple Lock will leave pensioners £520 worse off next year, and a cumulative £2,600 worse off over the next five years.

The call comes as the House of Lords rejected the UK Government’s plans to end the link to earnings, by 280 votes to 178, a majority of 102.

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Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) concluded that the state pension rate will rise by 3.1 per cent in April, however by maintaining the Triple Lock the state pension would have increased by 8.3 per cent.

Mr Thompson said: “For the UK Government to end the triple lock at a time when the cost of living is soaring is unacceptable.

“The state pension increase will be easily wiped out by rising energy and food bills, leaving many Midlothian pensioners facing a tough financial squeeze.

“Pensioners are already being short-changed in the UK, with the least generous pensions in north-west Europe. As reckless Tory policies like Brexit continue to hit the economy, now is not the time to make things harder.

“It’s a sad day when the unelected House of Lords has to intervene to get this government to do the right thing, but their rejection of this injustice gives the government a chance for a rethink.

"When the issue returns to the House of Commons I call on Boris Johnson to instruct his MPs to back the triple lock and keep his promise to the electorate.

“Midlothian pensioners have already been hammered enough by this government. It’s also a scandal that we have still not seen justice for the WASPI women who lost out on years of state pension without due notice, despite the findings of maladministration from the DWP.

“I am urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to finally see sense, do the right thing and to U-turn on this callous cut. Failure to do so will risk driving more pensioners into debt.”

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The Pensions Triple Lock, introduced in 2010, ensures that the UK state pension rises in line with whichever is highest from average annual earnings growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent.

In the recent budget it was announced that triple lock would be reduced to a ‘double lock’ in 2022-23.

In response to Mr Thompson’s comments, Lothian List MSP Jeremy Balfour (Con) said: “The local SNP MP is completely mistaken to say the UK Government has ended the triple lock on pensions. They have made it clear this announcement will be temporary for this year due to exceptional circumstances.

“The spike in average earnings means that for 2022-23 only, the UK Government will ensure that basic and new pensions will rise by 2.5 per cent or in line with inflation, which is expected to be higher this year.

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“The UK Government are committed to protecting pensioners spending power, particularly at a time when they are facing pressures over rising energy bills.

“The triple lock will return throughout the remainder of this Parliament and I remain committed to ensuring that the UK Government deliver this.

“Pensioners are not being served by Mr Thompson trying to stoke fears over the long-term future of the triple lock.”