The Chancellor looked visibly uncomfortable on GB News as he was confronted with the potential of the bumper increase in pensions as the country’s debt piles higher and higher. The triple lock mechanism promises the basic and the new state pension will be uprated each year by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 percent. However, as more people get back into work after a year of downturn, it is thought wages data will be somewhat warped for the coming year.
He said: “I think formally, I have to be very careful, as I can’t comment on fiscal policy outside of events, which I’m sure you’ll understand.
“With regards to pensions uprating, there is a statutory review which is carried out later on in the year, which is then brought to Parliament.
“What you’re referring to are forecasts, but as we’ve seen over the past 12 months, we’re in a period of extraordinary economic uncertainty, and lots of the forecasts we’ve seen have moved around and changed.
“I’d put that in the bucket right now, that’s speculation, and when we get to the autumn, there will be a formal review.”
When pressed further by Mr Neil, the Chancellor went on to once again stress the triple lock is the Government policy, but did not go as far as to say what the rise would be.
While he acknowledged the numbers quoted are correct, he provided a rebuttal, stating he would “not get drawn into” speculation about figures.
Figures surrounding the triple lock have grabbed attention recently, with estimates suggesting Mr Sunak faces a bill of £4billion to keep the policy in place.
The future of the state pension is an issue of particular importance to older people who wish for their income to be secured for years to come.
Many people with limited income will be relying upon the state pension increases to ensure their income keeps up with the cost of living.
While the future of the policy appears to be secure in the short term, the longevity of triple lock is not yet clear.
Some organisations and experts have suggested a modification of the policy to a so-called ‘double lock’ which would call time on the mechanism as it currently stands.
However, there have been some calls for the policy to be scrapped altogether, due to rising costs, particularly brought about by COVID-19.