Autumn Statement: Hunt on pension triple lock
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The Treasury is expected to spend £3.3bn on retired public servants’ pay in the 2022/23 tax year, rising to £6.2bn in 2023/24 and then £8.2bn in 2024/25, according to documents from the Office for Budget Responsibility published alongside the Autumn Statement this week. Rocketing inflation over 10 percent means retired public servants will get the biggest pay rise in a generation, the Telegraph reports. For those not reaping the rewards the cost of supporting the pension rises is set to double over the next three years. All retired Government workers receive a pay rise every spring in line with the previous September’s inflation.
Laurence O’Brien, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies told the Telegraph: “The cost of public sector pensions is much higher than the OBR expected back in March. Its forecast was around £3bn lower then.
“The sustainability of public sector pensions is uncertain, in a world of high inflation, low growth and falling wages. It has become increasingly expensive as a proportion of GDP.”
Andrew Tully, of the pensions specialist Canada Life, told the Telegraph that ex-Government workers would enjoy two layers of protection from inflation next spring, thanks to the triple lock.
He said: “Millions of retired public servants will receive a double-boost from next April, as runaway inflation will boost both their public sector pension scheme and also the state pension. But the OBR’s numbers show the significant additional cost to the public purse, at a time when the burden of fiscal responsibility should be shouldered by us all.”
The Daily Express successfully campaigned to keep the triple lock on pensions to protect millions of vulnerable pensioners from the soaring cost of living and rampant energy bills
Jeremy Hunt remained committed to the measure which links increases in the state pension every April with the highest of three markers, September’s inflation, wage growth or 2.5pc.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves admitted she is “pleased” about the decisions the Government made on the triple lock and benefits.
Challenged on Sky News about the budget containing many measures Labour should like, Ms Reeves said: “I didn’t feel like that. I’m really worried about what’s going to happen to people’s living standards from April.
She said Labour would not be laying out specific proposals for the economy until the next election, but added: “Even if you have a difficult fiscal inheritance, and we know that a Labour Government will have that due to the choices the Conservatives have made, you can still make different choices and prioritise different things.”
Challenged on whether Labour has few ideas left to spend money on public services that Jeremy Hunt has not already used, Ms Reeves said Labour would have made different tax decisions like VAT on private school fees, getting rid of the non-dom status and going bigger on windfall taxes.
On Mr Hunt protecting the triple lock on pensions, she said: “It is right that the Chancellor increased the pensions and universal credit and disability pensions in line with the cost-of-living crisis.
She added that she is still concerned with energy bills rising next year, but said: “I am pleased that those choices were made because that has caused a huge amount of worry for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
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