KATE OSBORNE: The Government is failing to protect our most vulnerable

Almost two years ago, the Prime Minister told voters during the 2019 General Election campaign that he would not be raising taxes on income, on VAT or National Insurance.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 12:00 am
Many pensioners are already struggling with soaring energy bills, with others having to choose between heating their home or eating.

He also said that he would not water down the triple lock.

Two years on, his Government is now tarnished by Tory broken promises and their election pledges clearly aren’t worth the paper they are written on – promises they made to the people of this country.

Last week, Boris Johnson brazenly admitted breaking his contract with the British people, raising taxes and dumping the “triple lock” on the state pension.

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The Government says that the state pension will rise by the highest out of 2.5% and inflation next year instead of earnings growth which is estimated to be at around 8%.

Callously pressing ahead with the scrapping of the triple lock this year is a massive Conservative betrayal of our pensioners and risks many of our elderly falling into poverty this winter.

There are around two million pensioners currently living in poverty in the UK.

The UK state pension is also one of the least generous in Europe. For example, single pensioners in the Netherlands receive £254 a week and in Denmark £366 a week.

The triple lock was brought in to ensure that the state pension would increase by inflation, average earnings increases or 2.5 per cent, whichever was highest.

It reversed the breaking of the link between earnings and the state pension – which meant the pension increased annually by the same level as average wages – by Margaret Thatcher, which saw the UK state pension decline in value.

However, this cut to pensions comes hot on the heels of millions of pensioners losing access to free television licences last year, meaning many now have to pay £159 a year to continue watching television.

And it would be another devastating blow to the 2.4 million pensioners who will lose access to free prescriptions if the government goes ahead with its controversial plans to raise the benefit in line with the state pension age, which is currently 66.

Many pensioners are already struggling with soaring energy bills, with others having to choose between heating their home or eating.

These life-changing decisions are devastating our pensioners, and it is absolutely disgraceful.

This is a government that is threatening the triple lock, threatening free prescriptions for over 60s and let us not forget they are still intent on taking £20 a week off some of the poorest households this autumn.

They must not be allowed to get away with this as they fail in their duty to protect our most vulnerable across our communities once again.

The same Government that has failed to crack down on the big multi-national companies making obscene profits at the expense of the taxpayer – letting them pay a paltry amount of tax – which tells you everything you need to know where its priorities lie.

We will fight them every step of the way.