State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify
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State pensioners will be hoping the triple lock delivers a bumper boost with inflation at substantially high levels. However, some have questioned whether the policy is viable, and indeed, whether it is fair.
The triple lock was abandoned this year in favour of a double lock due to warped earnings data as a result of COVID-19.
Although the Government previously promised to uphold the lock, the suspension has caused uncertainty.
The change in premiership compounded the matter as Prime Minister Liz Truss takes the reins, but she has previously committed to supporting the policy for at least the next two years.
With a challenging economic situation to be tackled, some experts worry good intentions will have to be placed aside in favour of affordability.
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to James Jones-Tinsley, self-invested pensions technical specialist at Barnett Waddignham, who offered insight.
Mr Jones-Tinsley touched upon the future of the triple lock, and what could be in store for the mechanism.
He explained: “The triple lock has become something of a pensions tightrope for the Government.
“The shift to a double lock last year seemed realistic in the circumstances.
“But in reality, state pension increases this year have been just a third of the rate of inflation, making it a struggle for those who rely on it to maintain their standards of living.”
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The expert suggested “all signs” point towards the reinstatement of the triple lock for the coming year.
This will be good news for pensioners who are finding it particularly difficult to get by during the cost of living crisis.
The increase will be likely to provide reassurance in these uncertain times, and pensioners are set for a bumper boost.
Mr Jones-Tinsley explained: “Current forecasts of September’s CPI figure, which will be released in October, have us looking at a double-digit increase come April 2023.
“This should help to provide support with higher bills and costs.
“But the promise of ‘jam tomorrow’ won’t be much use to pensioners over the long winter.”
However, while short term relief will be available to pensioners, the expert expressed worries about what this could mean for the longer term future.
He added: “The high payments could stoke inflation further and run counter to Truss’ promises of increased fiscal responsibility across the economy.
“Public and private sector workers certainly aren’t seeing doubled-digit wage growth.
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“So, the Government will need to defend itself against accusations of intergenerational favouritism.”
But what could come into place if the triple lock is scrapped?
Mr Jones-Tinsley suggested there may be different options on the horizon for the new Government to consider.
He said: “If neither the triple lock nor the double lock are proving suitable, and with a new Work and Pensions Secretary in place, there’s a chance we could see a whole new system proposed to Parliament.
“But whether this is a Governmental priority in the current tumultuous situation is anyone’s guess.”
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The Government has committed to implementing the Triple Lock in the usual way for the remainder of the Parliament.
“The UK state pension continues to provide the foundation for retirement planning and financial security in older age, with the full yearly amount of the basic state pension now over £2,300 higher than in 2010.”
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