Lib Dems would keep the pensions triple lock
Over 23,000 people living in South West Wiltshire would receive at least an extra £770 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the 'triple lock' for state pensions.
South West Wiltshire constituency has one of the highest number of people receiving state pensions in the country, being in the top 100 constituencies, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics,
Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the highest of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%. However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped.
The Liberal Democrats have committed today to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year.
This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Trevor Carbin said: "Protecting the triple lock will mean an extra £772 a year by 2021 for the 23,000 people receiving the state pension in this constituency.
"The Liberal Democrats are making a clear commitment to older people in South West Wilts, unlike the Conservatives who have repeatedly refused to give this guarantee. The triple lock has succeeded in lifting thousands of pensioners out of poverty, but many are still struggling to get by. An important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly. This commitment will ensure the living standards of older people will be protected, especially with prices set to rise in the coming years."
Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in August 2016, there were 23,110 people living in SW Wilts in receipt of the state pension (link)
The Liberal Democrat manifesto will include a commitment to keep the 'triple lock' protection for state pensions. All of those receiving the full state pension would enjoy a rise from £122.30 to at least £137.15 a week by 2021, the equivalent of an extra £772 a year.
The Liberal Democrats would also limit some non-pension benefits for the wealthiest pensioners. The Winter Fuel Payment would be withdrawn from those pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). The Liberal Democrats would retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.
The Conservatives have hinted strongly that they will drop the Triple Lock. Theresa May has refused to guarantee the triple lock when asked, and Conservative senior figures have spoken out against it (link)
Labour increased the State Pension by just 75p in 2000. Labour had 13 years to restore the earnings link to pensions which Margaret Thatcher severed in 1980. The Liberal Democrats restored the link to earnings within six weeks of getting into government.