Rishi Sunak grilled on plans for pensioners in Commons
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Rishi Sunak's decision to scrap the triple lock this year means that instead of the state pension rising by the rate of earnings at 8.3 percent, it will rise with inflation at 3.1 percent. If the triple lock had stayed in place, pensions would have received an extra £12 per week, but Mr Sunak felt that the Treasury could not afford the rise in pay-outs at a time when working-age Britons were being asked to pay increased National Insurance contributions.
The soaring cost of living has sparked campaigner demands to reinstate the triple lock to protect the elderly from staggering costs. Former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann is leading a House of Lords campaign to get the Government to reintroduce the triple lock on pensions this year.
She said: "Pensioners should not be used as a cash machine to pay for spending elsewhere, such as a lower bank levy or alcohol duty, especially as we face a cost of living crisis. I believe the Government needs to think again because this will certainly not be enough to protect pensioners against rising living costs."
Ms Altmann added: "Society has a duty to look after its elderly citizens. Even increasing pensions by five percent would still save around £3billion and protect pensioners in line with earnings."
"Taking away proper protection for one year may seem alright if you believe the myth that pensioners are all pretty well off, but in the real world there are already over two million pensioners in poverty and the UK state pension is the lowest in the developed world."
Rishi Sunak is facing calls to backtrack on his triple lock break (Image: Getty)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said recent survey figures showed 66 percent of adults in Britain had experienced an increase in the cost of living over the past month, with higher energy bills cited as a cause by four in five.
Of those experiencing the cost of living rises, 32 percent said they were cutting back on their use of fuels such as gas and electricity.
Meanwhile, 53 percent were spending less on non-essentials and 26 percent were digging into their savings.
At the start of this year, wholesale gas prices were on average four times higher than at the same period in 2021.
Soaring energy prices could plunge 1.1 million of the poorest pensioner households into "fuel poverty", unable to heat their homes without plunging below the poverty line.
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Currently, around 10,000 Britons die every year because they live in a cold home, charity National Energy Action (NEA) warned.
Age UK boss Caroline Abrahams said pensioners will be forced to choose between heating their homes or eating as they face extreme cost of living rises.
She added: “Doing either is a potential risk to their health, especially if they are living with serious underlying health conditions."
Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said urgent action is needed to help the elderly after Chancellor Rishi Sunak scrapped the triple lock.
“It is not too late for the Treasury to step in and take action," Mr Francis said.
Do you think Mr Sunak should reconsider his decision? Vote in our poll.
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