Rishi Sunak's pension & benefits promise must be kept

Ahead of the UK Government’s autumn Budget later this week, I am calling on the Prime Minister to keep the promise that he made in May to reinstate the pensions triple lock and to properly update benefits.

As Chancellor last year, Rishi Sunak broke the triple lock and in doing so breached a key Conservative manifesto commitment which promised to raise the State Pension every year by whichever was the larger amount from:

  • Average earnings growth
  • 2.5%
  • The rate of inflation

The decision to remove the earnings link from the formula has resulted in a cut to pensioner income of over £500 this year during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

Those receiving other social security payments have seen a rise of only 3.1% this year despite the double digit rise in inflation.

Addressing the House of Commons as Chancellor in May 2022, Rishi Sunak made the following promise.

"I can reassure the House that next year, subject to the Secretary of State's review, benefits will be uprated by this September’s CPI, which on current forecast is likely to be significantly higher than the forecast inflation rate for next year. Similarly, the triple lock will apply to the State Pension."

Rishi Sunak MP 26 May 2022

The UK Tory government presides over one of the lowest state pensions in western Europe. From reneging on their manifesto commitment and breaking the triple lock, scrapping free TV licenses for the over-75s and the scandalous injustice faced by the WASPI women, successive Westminster governments have failed our older people time and again.

During the pandemic, the shocking state of the social security system was laid bare and forced the then Chancellor to increase Universal Credit by £20 per week - an increase he then cruelly took away.

And while the Scottish Government is doing what it can to mitigate Tory cuts and direct support to those on low and middle incomes, Scotland shouldn't be left cleaning up Westminster's mess.

After years of targeted Tory attacks on pensioners and those in need of social security support, the Prime Minister must now keep his promise.