Truss says she’s ‘committed’ to state pension triple lock
Liz Truss has said she is “committed” to increasing the state pension by the rate of inflation, after Number 10 just yesterday refused to back the triple lock.
Truss said during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that “I am completely committed to the triple lock and so is the chancellor”.
Truss’ spokesperson and Jeremy Hunt both refused this week to commit to the pension triple lock, sparking speculation it would get binned as a part of the chancellor’s coming spending cuts.
Number 10 said the Prime Minister and chancellor met today to discuss the pension triple lock and “jointly” agreed that it would be kept in place.
It comes in the wake of intense media scrutiny over the past 24 hours, after it became clear that the government was considering scrapping the pension triple lock as a part of Hunt’s drive to balance the books.
The chancellor told cabinet ministers yesterday to bring proposals for spending cuts to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) before his Medium Term Fiscal Plan announcement on 31 October.
“I’ve been clear we are protecting the triple lock on pensions,” Truss told MPs today.
A Treasury source said “everything is still on the table” for Hunt’s Halloween fiscal statement, but that “Liz has political red lines and this was probably one of them”.
The triple lock sees state pensions, for people 66 and over, increase each year by whichever is highest out of inflation, the increase in average earnings and 2.5 per cent.
Pensioners currently receive £185.15-a-week, which would likely increase to around £200 if the triple lock is maintained next year.
Truss said during PMQs that “I’m a fighter, not a quitter” as she faced a barrage of ridicule from the Labour benches.
The Prime Minister had an approval rating of -70 in a YouGov poll yesterday, the lowest ever recorded, and is facing growing calls from her own backbenches to resign.
Tory MP William Wragg, who played a part in the downfall of Boris Johnson, today announced he had submitted a letter of no-confidence in Truss.
He said he was “personally ashamed” by Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget, “because I cannot go and face my constituents, look them in the eye and say that they should support our great party”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party was “a government in waiting and [the Tories are] an opposition in waiting” to raucous cheers from his own backbenches during PMQs.
“Millions of people are facing horrendous mortgage payments and she has admitted it’s her fault,” he said.
“She shouldn’t have conducted an economic experiment on the British public . . . why on earth would anyone trust the Tories with the economy ever again?”