Triple Lock Pension Costing The UK Too Much Money According To Jeremy Hunt

March 20, 2024

During a session with the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt hinted at a potential overhaul of the state pension triple lock, signalling a need for review in light of demographic shifts and fiscal pressures.

The state pension triple lock, introduced in the 2012 financial year, ensures that the state pension increases each April by the highest of inflation, average wage growth, or 2.5 per cent. However, concerns have emerged among economists regarding its sustainability, especially as an ageing population and potential inflation spikes pose challenges to public finances.

While the triple lock has resulted in substantial pension increases, such as the 8.5 per cent rise expected this year, economists worry about its long-term implications. Projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility indicate a significant uptick in pension spending by 2027-28, with further escalations anticipated by 2050 due to a larger elderly population.

The uncertainty surrounding the triple lock’s cost, particularly inflation forecasts, has fueled calls for reform. The Institute for Fiscal Studies advocates for its abolition, while former Tory leader William Hague has labelled it a “runaway train.” Alternative suggestions have also been proposed, such as replacing it with an average of inflation and wage growth.

Despite acknowledging the need for scrutiny, Hunt expressed confidence in maintaining the policy, contingent upon productivity improvements and economic growth. He emphasized the importance of running public services efficiently and enhancing long-term growth rates to sustain current public provision and support for pensioners.

While the future of the triple lock remains uncertain, Hunt’s remarks underscore a commitment to navigating fiscal challenges while ensuring continued support for pensioners.