Boris Johnson grilled by reporter over 'missing opportunity'
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Daily Express Political Editor Macer Hall called out Boris Johnson after he pointed out the UK has one of the worst pension schemes in Europe and said the Government had a good opportunity to improve it as they could choose to increase payments by 8 percent in line with earnings. Mr Hall accused Mr Johnson of “effectively robbing pensioners of £7 a week” after the triple lock was scrapped for this upcoming year. The PM praised the Daily Express for the campaigns run on behalf of pensioners and said he would “always stand up for pensioners” before stressing the decision is only to address an anomaly from the pandemic.
Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey announced for the year 2022-23 pensions would rise by 2.5 percent or inflation, whichever is higher.
The triple lock says pensions would increase each year either by 2.5 percent, earnings or inflation depending on whichever is higher.
But the pandemic has led to an artificial increase in wages which would have seen the Government paying pensioners 8 percent more – the earnings side of the triple lock.
The triple lock was therefore scrapped for this year only while the UK recovers from the pandemic.
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Mr Hall grilled Mr Johnson over the decision stating it would have been a good opportunity to address the shortfalls in the UK’s pension scheme.
He told the PM: “You’re breaking your manifesto promises to pensioners by not raising savings in line with earnings.
“Aren’t you missing a historic opportunity to improve what is one of the worst pensions in Europe?
“Haven’t pensioners got a right to feel betrayed and aren’t you effectively robbing them of £7 a week?”
Pensions triple lock scrapped for millions of Brits
Mr Johnson rejected the accusation and said: “First of all can I congratulate the Express for the campaigns you run on behalf of pensioners.
“I think that they’re quite and we will always stand up for pensioners in this country…
“What we’re trying to deal with is a statistical freak caused by the pandemic so one of the data in the triple lock jazzed up and down again very sharply with a weird effect on pensions.
“Pensioners will still get 2.5 percent and be protected against the rise of living.”
Mr Sunak then pointed out the measures were only temporary and hoped the public could understand why they have made the decision.
According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK has one of the worst pensions in the developed world.
In 2018, the UK Government pays out 29 per cent putting it at the bottom of a table which is led by the Netherlands, which pays 100.6 percent.
The average across the OECD is 62.9 per cent.
However, comparisons between different countrys’ pension schemes is difficult as the different schemes provide benefits and subsidies which are not included in the total monetary amount.
For example, the full basic State Pension is £175.20 per week but this does not include free NHS prescriptions, travel and other benefits in the UK which may bump the pension higher than other countries.
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