State pension warning as Britons could be £208 worse off – ‘left in the cold!’

Pensions triple lock scrapped for millions of Brits

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Worries about the state pension have been raised by the Liberal Democrats, who are concerned about support for older individuals during this challenging financial time. The party, which was part of the coalition Government that introduced the state pension triple lock, has urged a further increase to the state pension. A failure to do so, it states, could mean Britons are “left out in the cold” in the coming year.

The state pension triple lock is a policy to ensure the retirement sum offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rises in real terms.

The increase is usually measured by the highest of average earnings, inflation or 2.5 percent, although the earnings component has been temporarily frozen this ear. 

In line with the inflation figure recently published by the Office for National Statistics, the state pension is set to rise by 3.1 percent from next April.

However, there are concerns inflation could skyrocket to at least double that amount next year, as a result of numerous factors.

These include the ongoing supply chain crisis, as well as surging energy prices which have caused numerous firms to go to the wall.

If the Government were to go ahead with the 3.1 percent inflation figure, a rise from £137.60 to £141.85 per week would be charted for the basic state pension.

However, research by the House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has suggested a six percent increase would see an increase to £145.85 per week.

Receiving the lower amount would mean Britons are short by £4 per week – or £208 per year, in real terms.

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Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrats work and pensions spokesperson, said: “The Conservatives have broken their manifesto promise to protect the state pension and are failing to tackle the cost of living crisis.

“This is striking a double blow to pensioners, who face being left hundreds of pounds poorer as their pension payments fail to keep up with soaring bills.

“The Liberal Democrats are demanding a fair increase to the state pension, so that it matches rising living costs instead of leaving pensioners out in the cold.

“We know that pensioners are typically more vulnerable to increased energy bills, as they tend to spend more time at home especially in the winter months. Older people deserve a fair deal in which their pensions are protected and they can afford to keep their homes warm.”

The Government is once again offering schemes such as the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment to support older people.

However, it is argued a higher state pension will provide further financial support to older people, especially those with a limited source of income. 

The move to suspend the triple lock is intended to be a temporary measure for this year, with reinstatement occurring next year.

Some, however, are worried that the policy could be scrapped once again should inflation rise by a significant amount.

In early October, markets forecast rates according to the Retail Price Index (RPI) could reach some seven percent by next April. 

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While inflation did drop in recent Office for National Statistics data, it is only expected to be temporary with further increases on the horizon. 

Some experts have speculated the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak could address the matter of state pensions within his upcoming Budget this week.

Regardless of this, Work and Pensions secretary Dr Therese Coffey will be laying to the annual review shortly, with an outcome on the state pension rise to be confirmed later in the year.

Pensioners are therefore left in limbo at present, awaiting greater confirmation on how they will see their sum impacted in the coming year. 

A Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and later this year we will confirm the new rate for state pensions.

“The one-off decision to temporarily suspend the triple lock ensures fairness for both pensioners and taxpayers – while also protecting pensioners’ incomes.”

Additional reporting by Tommy Lumby

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