Bin the pensions triple-lock, or at least lower minimum annual increase, says Tory heavyweight

 
Oliver Gill
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Stephen Crabb is now calling for the triple-lock floor to be reduced to 1.5 per cent (Source: Getty)

Just days after the Chancellor confirmed the pensions triple-lock would be saved, a heavy hitting Conservative MP has once again reaffirmed his desire to have the promise binned.

Stephen Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary as well as one of the candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race said that the triple-lock had achieved what was need – to bring pensioners out of poverty.

At the very least, he said, it should be modified so that the minimum state pension increases should be 1.5 per cent.

Read more: Pensions triple-lock is saved by Hammond. For now at least...

The triple-lock – which guarantees that state pensions to rise by the highest of average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5 per cent – is something of a hot potato. Chancellor Philip Hammond said this week in his Autumn Statement the government would continue its "pledge" on the triple-lock.

However, he only committed to leaving it in during the current parliament.

But Crabb – who has previously been on record saying the triple-lock should be reconsidered after 2020 –told Sky News he felt the floor of annual rises should be changed to 1.5 per cent.

"It is morally the right thing now to look at whether we can achieve a fairer spread of welfare spending so that working-age families, younger people, also get a fair crack at society," he said.

According to the Government Actuary's Department, the policy cost £6bn last year.

In the run-up to the Autumn Statement there were reports that Hammond was planning to make an announcement to alter the triple-lock.

Read more: MPs want to scrap the pension triple lock to help millennials

Crabb's comments echo those made by a group of MPs at the start of November, who called the triple-lock unfair and unsustainable. Frank Field, who chairs the work and pension committee, said “great strides have been made against the scourge of pensioner poverty",

But Field added: "It is time for the triple lock to be shelved. The system we propose protects pensioners and allows them to share the proceeds of future good times, but at the same time is inter-generationally fair. We call on all parties to get behind it.”

Pensions expert at Hargreaves Lansdown Tom McPhail said there is a growing consensus for a review of the triple-lock".

"There is therefore a growing recognition of the disparity between the fortunes of the Baby-boomers now in retirement, and those younger cohorts... The Triple Lock was always unsustainable in the long term," he said.

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