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Altmann slates the triple lock

Altmann slates the triple lock

Former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann has spoken out on the triple lock stating it fails to address the needs of the oldest and poorest in the UK.

She said the triple lock, which guarantees the state pension will increase in line with the highest of the consumer prices index, wages inflation or by 2.5 per cent each year, is not currently protecting many pensioners.

Baroness Altmann said: "In light of the new state pension system, which started in April 2016, the triple lock leaves oldest and poorest pensioners relatively worse off even though they need most protection.

"Older pensioners, who are on the old state pension will only have the basic state pension protected - a maximum of around £120 a week, while newer pensioners have the full new state pension of nearly £160 a week protected by the triple lock."

Baroness Altmann highlighted the fact that the poorest pensioners on credit do not have the triple lock promise, since it only rises in line with earnings.

She said: "The longer the triple lock stays in place, the more the state pension favours younger pensioners and relatively disadvantages poorest pensioners.

In August last year Baroness Altmann said a double lock policy for pensions is better than the current triple lock policy, which she believed at the time the government had been using as a “smokescreen” for this area of policy.

Today (4 January), she reiterated such views, saying a double lock is the way forward for equity among pensioners, since it would increase all parts of the state pension in line with the best of prices or earnings.

Baroness Altmann added: "Of course, a double lock would still leave politicians free to increase more generously if they believe that is appropriate in any year."

She said politicians have been using the tripe lock as a "lazy way" of claiming to offer pensioners "brilliant protection".

ruth.gillbe@ft.com

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