Conservative pledge to maintain the pensions triple lock

The Conservatives will continue to use the 'triple lock' to protect the basic state pension if they win the next election, David Cameron has said.

The triple lock guarantees the pension will rise by whichever is highest - inflation, average earnings, or 2.5%. The PM has pledged to keep the lock during the 2015-2020 parliamentary term.

Commenting on the PM’s remarks, consultant, Malcolm McLean said:

“A commitment from the Conservatives to maintaining the triple lock for at least the five year term of another parliament will be welcome news for pensioners but may not be quite as beneficial overall as many commentators seem to think.

“The triple lock, as presently constituted, applies only to the basic element of the state pension and not to any additional pension many pensioners receive in the form of the state second pension (S2P) and the state earnings related pension (SERPS). These elements will presumably continue to be limited to any increase warranted solely by inflation as measured by movements in the consumer prices index (CPI).

“There is also no commitment to apply the triple lock to the new single tier state pension which comes into effect in April 2016 and replaces both the basic and additional state pensions for everyone reaching their state pension ages from that point onwards.

“It was also noteworthy that Mr Cameron in his interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show declined to give any commitment to continuing with the so-called pensioner benefits – Winter Fuel Payment, Free Bus Passes and Television Licences – beyond the end of the current parliament. Withdrawal or restriction of entitlement to any or all of these would clearly not be welcomed by many in the pensioner community.

“As ever with pensions the devil may well be in the detail as to how exactly the triple lock will be applied from 2015 onwards and what the wider political implications may be. The Lib Dems and Labour have both supported the triple lock but have made no commitment about whether they would keep it after the next election.

“It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the run up to the next General Election with pensions alongside immigration being the domestic issues most likely to take centre stage.”