Yesterday morning, the newly appointed Chancellor announced a string of Government U-turns, reversing many of the policies his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng had announced in his mini-budget last month. In a round of interviews over the weekend, Mr Hunt hinted that nothing was off the table as he made it clear that further action would be necessary in order to reduce the UK’s debt. He stated in multiple interviews that “some areas of spending will need to be cut”.
Yesterday, Mr Hunt was asked directly in the House of Commons if he would pass on the state pension triple lock increase in full.
He said while he was aware of the importance of the triple lock to vulnerable pensioners, he was “not making any commitments” to the mechanism at the moment.
Due to these comments, speculations of Austerity 2.0 have arisen as well as concerns that the Government will not honour the Conservative 2019 party manifesto promise that state pensions will rise with inflation.
The state pension cost the UK more than £100billion in the 2020/21 year and makes up around 12 percent of total public spending.
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Express.co.uk readers have made their feelings known about the future of the policy with many sharing their anger, warning the failure to promise the triple lock could lose the party a win at the next general election.
Express.co.uk reader wrote pizd hoff wrote: “The Tory party will probably lose the next election as things stand. If they mess with pensions again, they will DEFINITELY lose it.”
Another reader Rigsby said: “As a lifetime Tory voter (now a pensioner) I have finally given up hope for the party. Not only will I never vote for them again, I will join the protesters on the streets to protest against them.
“They don’t have hope now of even getting any of their party elected and will slowly disappear – and good riddance.
“It has been painful to see in the last year how treacherous this party is, and the party will see in the next election how all the pensioners will desert them, thereby destroying their party. Goodbye Tory party!”
Reader Clydeside explained how the backtracking on the pension promise was their “last straw”.
They wrote: “If true, the party has lost my vote and will be cancelling my membership. Have listened to the nonsense and watched the dissent within the parliamentary party with incredulous disbelief over the past few weeks and enough is enough.
“They have lost the plot with in-fighting and backtracking on the pension triple lock is the last straw. God save the party for our MPs certainly won’t.”
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Benchhand added: “I’ve always voted Tory since I was eighteen. I’m now coming up to pensionable age. Guess what? I won’t be voting Tory again! How do you like that Mr Hunt.”
Many were not confident in the party to honour its manifesto and criticised the UK’s state pension overall.
Bev570 said: “I’m not yet a pensioner but I do know that UK’s state pension is the very very worst in Europe at £7.6k pa if you’re lucky!
“Compare that to France £20k, Spain £26k and Germany £28k! As a lifetime Tory supporter, based on Hunt’s speech yesterday, even I now think the Torys are finished.”
Another user wrote: “It’s not only the pensioners that face an anxious wait over the triple lock. It’s also the Tory MPs.
“The Tories stitched up the pensioners last year because they are an easy target. But make no mistake.
“The pensioner’s vote is also a large part of the Tory,s vote that put them in power. If they withdraw that vote, a lot of Tory MPs will find themselves claiming unemployment benefits!”
The UK’s inflation figure for September is set to be announced tomorrow with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) expected to share the figure in the morning.
While former Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted the suspension of the triple lock was temporary, it is yet to be seen whether any triple lock amendments will be made for next year.