It is estimated the UK will face a £300billion funding hole due to the coronavirus. According to leaked Treasury documents, officials have considered scrapping the lock on the state pension in order to help fund the large deficit. With that in mind, Express.co.uk is asking: “Do you support scrapping triple-lock to fund COVID bailout?”
The triple lock guarantees the state basic state pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5 percent, the rate of inflation or average earnings.
The lock was introduced in 2011 but may now be removed after the Treasury forecast a budget deficit of £337billion this year.
In March, it had forecast a deficit of £55billion before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy.
However, in the worst-case scenario, the leaked documents seen by Express.co.uk state the deficit could surge to £516billion in the current financial year.
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A Number 10 source said: “It’s too early to speculate about any future decisions.
“We’re facing a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty and we remain committed to the agenda that was set out in the Budget.”
Baroness Ros Altmann, a former pensions minister said a review into the triple lock would be needed following the virus.
She said: “The triple lock seems to be sacrosanct but nobody has really justified 2.5 percent.
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“Of course we have to protect pensioners’ income but for me, that means we need a double lock that increases the state pension in line with earnings or price inflation.”
In their election manifesto last year, the Tory party stated it would not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance, and would keep the pension triple lock.
The leaked Treasury documents also state up to £30billion of tax hikes and spending cuts could be used to help fund the increased debt.
Commenting on spending cuts, a Number 10 source said: “We acknowledge that those on the frontline are doing an incredible job at the moment and we are determined to support them.
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“Public sector pay decisions are made through the usual annual process and recommendations from the review bodies will be considered before pay awards are announced this summer.
“I would also say that we obviously recognise the work of the frontline staff in the current crisis and we’re not going to forget that after we’re through this crisis.”
There are huge fears the UK economy will face a larger recession than following the 2008/09 financial crash.
In keeping with the Government’s dire economic warning, the Office for Budget Responsibility stated the coronavirus crisis will cost the taxpayer £123.2billion.
The Office for National Statistics also stated the UK’s GDP fell by 5.8 percent in March.
That drop in GDP highlights the quickest drop in production since records began in 1997.
Jonathan Athow, the ocuntry’s deputy national statistician, said: “With the arrival of the pandemic nearly every aspect of the economy was hit in March, dragging growth to a record monthly fall.
“Services and construction saw record declines on the month with education, car sales and restaurants all falling substantially.”
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