On Monday, I led Labour’s efforts in the Commons to hold the Government to account as it broke its manifesto promise to keep the pensions triple lock – a guarantee that the state pension will rise each year at the same rate as the highest of wage rises, inflation or 2.5%. Parliament sat into the evening as the Government rushed the changes to the law through.
As Shadow Pensions Minister, I used my time at the despatch box to condemn the Government for its failure to adequately explain why it had to break the triple lock and for breaking its word to pensioners.
This year’s wage data has been warped by the furlough scheme and other short-term pandemic related trends, meaning pensions would have jumped up much higher than expected. That is why we accepted that action would have to be taken this year to ensure the triple lock worked for both pensioners and the economy, but I believe there are several ways the Government could have chosen to keep the lock in place whilst making temporary tweaks this year. You can read my whole speech here.
It is disappointing that the Government did not choose one of these alternatives or explain their decision. They seem non-plussed by the fact that this is yet another in a serious of broken promises.
Earlier this year, the Government scrapped the commitment to supporting the world’s neediest by putting 0.7% of spending towards international development – a long standing commitment that did mean Britain was helping to make the world a safer and better place for everyone. Now, the Government also wants to cut universal credit for working families by a £1000 a year – just as the energy prices look set to skyrocket and we face a difficult winter ahead.
I had hoped we could debate an amendment to the bill on Monday that would have put pressure on the Government to end the universal credit cut, but unfortunately the Speaker did not choose it. I did remind the Government however that although it is late, it is not too late to do the right thing.
I will keep pushing for a fairer deal for pensioners and savers in my frontbench capacity.
You can find clips from my speech below 👇