Philip Hammond has again hinted the Conservative Party will scrap the triple-lock which protects the rise in pensioners’ income - as Labour committed to keep it until 2025.
The rule, introduced by David Cameron in 2012, guarantees that state pensions rise each year by whichever is the highest out of the consumer price index, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.
The government is committed to keeping the triple-lock for the duration of this parliament until 2020.
But speaking in the Commons today, the chancellor said extending this into the next parliament would be subject to “review” and accused Labour of wanting to “spray” around money.
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said this had caused “uncertainty and worry” for pensioners and said Labour would guarantee to “preserve the triple-lock throughout the lifetime of the next parliament”.
Hammond used his Autumn Statement last week to first reveal the Conservatives may abandon the rule ahead of the next election.
And he said today: “The only responsible thing to say is, all the commitments we have made for duration of this parliament we will review at the Spending Review before the end of the parliament.
“We will decide the which ones we can afford to renew, which ones are appropriate to renew.
“I think it tells us everything we need to now about the Opposition, that three-and-a-half years out, they are willing to spray around commitments without any idea about what it’s going to cost them.”
The chancellor told Long-Bailey: “This now was worth waiting for. We have firm commitment by the Opposition to run triple-lock through hate lifetime of the next parliament. I wonder if the honourable lady knows how much home she has just spent without knowing the fiscal circumstances the country will face.”
Earlier this month, the Commons work and pensions committee said keeping the triple-lock was was “unsustainable” and “unfair” on younger families.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Hammond’s comments “further proves that the Tories are abandoning older people”.
“Labour is committed to supporting older people, and ensuring they have a secure and sustainable retirement. Labour will support the pensions triple lock and instead of cutting taxes for the super-rich and giant corporations will make sure our NHS and social care is properly funded,” he said.