Thursday 17 June 2021 7:57 am

Sunak says pensions triple lock remains government policy as he faces £4bn bill

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the triple lock on pensions remains government policy after it emerged that he may have to spend £4bn more on pensioners from next year if he sticks to the pledge.

Sunak was grilled on the issue in an interview with GB News, after ONS data published earlier in the week revealed there was a record jump in earnings.

The triple-lock pledge ensures that pensions rise annually by the highest out of average earnings growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent.

This means Sunak would need to link pensions to earnings growth if it remained at this level.

During the interview with Andrew Neil, Sunak was asked whether he would be prepared to pay the bill amid criticism over the funding provided to help children catch up on missed school lessons.

“The triple lock is the government policy but I can’t pre-empt, there’s a statutory review that happens in the autumn through a parliamentary process and it’s not right for me to pre-empt that,” the chancellor said.

Sunak claimed the figures were “speculation”, and when questioned on whether he would pay the bill if earnings turned out the be the highest, he said: “That’s how the triple lock works. That is the government policy.”

The Treasury, which has already hinted that it faces a balancing act with the issue, said the focus was to “ensure fairness for both pensioners and taxpayers”, according to the Financial Times.