The government is unlikely to scrap the pensions triple lock to fund its Covid-19 support despite reports it had been advised to do so.
In a written answer to a parliamentary question, pensions minister Guy Opperman said the government has not yet made an impact assessment of scrapping the election promise, which sees the state pension increase each year by the higher of earnings growth, price inflation or 2.5 per cent.
Mr Opperman said: “The government is committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and the state pension is the foundation of state support for older people.”
He said since 2010, the full yearly amount of the basic state pension in 2020/21 was about £700 higher than if it had just been uprated by earnings, equating to a rise of £1,900 in cash terms.
In addition, prime minister Boris Johnson told the Liaison Committee he will keep all his 2019 manifesto promises, of which one was to keep the triple lock.
This comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak was advised to scrap the pension triple lock on state pension rises as a way to recoup the hundreds of billions of pounds the government has spent on Covid-19 support.
Despite this Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell is not convinced the triple lock will be kept and believes once the crisis is over “everything will be on the table when it comes to paying the bill”.
Mr Selby said: “While Boris Johnson said he would keep his manifesto promises, he also refused to commit to not raising income tax, VAT or National Insurance – which were also manifesto promises.
“With regards to the triple-lock, the costs could balloon significantly over the next two years if we see earnings bounce back next year (obviously all very uncertain at the moment).”
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