Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (17th June 2013) warned that local pensioners could be the victims of a ‘three card trick’ and lose a previous pensions guarantee if the Coalition Government are returned at the next general election.
He made this warning following press reports that the survival of the “Triple Lock”, which has kept state pensions rising, cannot be guaranteed after the next general election.
“This is not just idle press gossip, this came directly from a weekend press briefing by the Coalition’s own Pensions Minister, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb. In an interview with the Financial Times Steve Webb was reported as saying, and I quote: “in 2015 each party will say what it would do” about the triple lock “and we haven’t, as a party, decided anything about the next parliament”.
“This will be a green light to Webb’s Conservative masters to look at unpicking this commitment. The Conservative party have already said that it could not guarantee to keep the triple lock after 2015, saying it “could not comment on their manifesto now” and, tellingly, this guarantee is not in the Pensions Bill which we will be debating imminently.
“This is a clear warning to the 20.7% of my constituency who are over 60, many of whom, due to the problems of the Teesside economy, have not got good safety nets from occupational pensions. The guarantees given by the government are worthless.
“In contrast, Labour’s position is crystal clear. Greg McClymont, our own Shadow Pension Minister penned an article at the same time this weekend as Steve Webb dropped his bombshell. He said: “Let’s be absolutely clear. Labour is committed to the triple lock which means the state pension rises by the increase in average earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.”
“We will take no lessons from a Conservative Party which only a few weeks ago introduced changes – the Granny Tax – to age related allowances. These changes have adversely affected 3.6 million pensioners losing £68 per year and 360,000 pensioners losing £268 per year. The moral is clear – you can’t trust the Tories and nor, it seems, the Lib Dems.”