Tories are ‘absolutely’ committed to triple lock after next election, says Hunt

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Jeremy Hunt has publicly confirmed that the triple lock for state pensions will be included in the Tory manifesto at the next election.

The Chancellor said he was confident the party would be able to afford the promise, and that as Chancellor he would safeguard it throughout the next Parliament.

Party sources said a few days ago that the triple lock – which ensures the state pension rises by the highest of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent a year – would be part of the Conservative’s next manifesto.

Asked on Sunday to reiterate that commitment, Mr Hunt said it would “absolutely” be continued by his party if they win the next election.

“We made that commitment to pensioners and we think it’s a very important one,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

But he cautioned that the policy placed a significant burden on taxpayers and was an “expensive commitment”.

“You can only make that commitment if you’re confident that you’re going to deliver the economic growth that’s going to pay for it,” Mr Hunt continued.

The Conservatives sought to reassure pensioners over the future of the triple lock last week after Mr Hunt told a Lords committee on Tuesday that it could only be sustained with public spending cuts and economic growth.

The state pension will rise by 8.5 per cent to £221.20 a week in April as high inflation and wages push up the cost of the commitment.

Mr Hunt told peers that the pension age and the triple lock were under review, adding: “The answer is very contingent on how successful we are.

“If we are able to run public services more efficiently, if we are able to increase our long-term growth rate, then it is entirely possible we can continue to have the levels of public provision we currently have, and the support for pensioners, and I very much hope that is the case.

“We are confident we can continue to support pensioners in the way we have been in the past.”

A Conservative source said: “The triple lock has been in every Conservative Party manifesto since we created it, and we will commit to it again.”

In February Labour committed to promise the triple lock on the state pension in its general election manifesto but party chair Anneliese Dodds refused to repeat that commitment on Sunday morning, telling the BBC that the party will set out its plans in detail later.

She added that she doesn’t want pledges such as the triple lock to be put at risk by “that £46 billion black hole that unfortunately Jeremy Hunt has threatened” with his proposed plans to reform National Insurance.

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