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Thursday, November 18, 2021

MP explains why he voted against the pensions "triple lock'

Clwyd South Welsh Conservative MP Simon Baynes (pictured) has explained why he recently voted with the majority of his party in the House of Commons to scrap the state pension "triple lock".

The triple lock guarantees that state pensions grow annually in line with whichever is highest out of:

  • * The average wage increase
  • * Inflation (measured by the Consumer Prices Index)
  • * 2.5 per cent
  • It was introduced by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government in 2010 and has remained intact until now.
  • The Tories promised it would not be scrapped for the duration of this Parliament.
  • The Government won the vote over the amendment to the Social Security (Up-Rating of Benefits) Bill by 300 votes to 229.
  • Mr Baynes said: "I voted to move to a Double Lock for one year only. This means the state pension will rise next year by the higher of inflation or 2.5 per cent, now confirmed as a 3.1 per cent increase. 
  • "This year, as millions of people have left furlough and the labour market has changed significantly, reported average wage growth is due to be over 8 per cent. It would not be right to increase pensions by this figure – it is not what the triple lock was ever intended to deal with, would cost £4-5 billion, and would have to be funded by increasing taxes on working people. 
  • "This approach will ensure pensioners’ spending power is preserved and that they are protected from higher costs of living. It will also ensure that as we are having to make difficult decisions elsewhere across public spending – including freezing public sector pay – pensioners are not unfairly benefitting from a statistical anomaly. 
  • "Colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions have assured me that this measure is temporary for one year, and the Triple Lock will apply as usual from next year for the remainder of this Parliament, in line with the manifesto commitment. 
  • "The triple lock guarantee was put in place in 2011, which has led to the state pension increasing by an average of 3 per cent annually since. In total, the basic state pension has increased by 35 per cent or £2,050 since 2011. It is now worth £137.60 per week – relative to earnings, the highest it has been in 34 years. The full rate of the new state pension is £179.60 per week, up from £155.65 when it was introduced in 2016. 
  • "These measures have meant there are 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty, compared to a decade ago.  On top of this, pensioners continue receive other support – free TV licences, free bus passes, winter fuel payments, and tax-free pension contributions worth over £50 billion."

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