House of Lords vote to retain the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions

03 November 2021

On 2 November, the House of Lords voted on an amendment to the Social Security Bill to keep the earnings link of the ‘triple lock’ in place next year. The wage element has been suspended by the government for 2022-23 following a substantial rise in wages due to the pandemic.

The ‘triple lock’ ensures state pension benefits rise by the highest of price inflation, earnings growth of 2.5%. Currently set to increase by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 3.1%, linking it to earnings growth could see a rise of 8%.

The amendment, brought by Baroness Ros Altmann, was backed 220 votes to 178, receiving votes from peers of all parties. However, the Bill will now be debated further in the House of Commons, where the government retains its majority and is anticipated to overturn the decision.

Altmann commented during the debate: “Pensioners are not a cash machine for chancellors to take money from when wanting to fund other projects or tax cuts elsewhere, especially not in the eye of a cost-of-living storm.”

It was noted in the amendment that the secretary of state should consider setting another earnings figure over using the 8% figure cited. If an alternative cannot be agreed between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the increased cost of state pension could lead to a rewrite of the Budget.

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