Over 38,000 pensioners across Sandwell are facing a £208 hit to their incomes next year because of soaring energy prices and the government breaking its promise to protect state pensions, new figures have revealed.
The state pension is expected to rise by 3.1% next year, in line with inflation figures for September, but inflation is now at 5% and expected to rise further. However, research by the Liberal Democrats show that this will not be enough to keep up with energy price hikes as gas prices reach record highs.
The energy price cap was increased by £139 on 1 October, and a further increase of around £300 to the cap is expected next April. This is fuelling soaring inflation which is forecast to peak to up to 6% by next April, eating into people’s real-terms incomes.
Research for the Liberal Democrats carried out by the House of Commons Library suggests a 6% rise in inflation would mean the Basic State Pension would be slashed by £4.00 a week in real terms, or £208 a year. This would mean pensioners in Sandwell losing out by £8 million in total over the year.
It comes after the Conservatives broke their manifesto commitment by scrapping the “triple lock” on pensions, brought in by the Liberal Democrats in government to protect the state pension by ensuring it rises in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5%. The triple-lock was introduced by LibDem Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, who went to school in Great Barr, and who is still helping pensioners get what they are owed.
Commenting Mark Smith, Sandwell Liberal Democrat Chair, said:
“Pensioners in Sandwell are set to lose £208 a year because the Conservatives broke their promise to protect the state pension.
“The Liberal Democrats are demanding a fair increase to the state pension, so that it matches rising living costs instead of leaving pensioners out in the cold.
“We know that pensioners are typically more vulnerable to increased energy bills, as they tend to spend more time at home especially in the winter months. Older people deserve a fair deal in which their pensions are protected and they can afford to keep their homes warm.”
Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP said:
“The Conservatives have broken their manifesto pledge to protect the state pension and are failing to tackle the cost of living crisis. This is striking a double blow to pensioners, who face being left hundreds of pounds poorer as their pension payments fail to keep up with soaring bills.”
You can read more about Steve Webb's latest successful campaign to help pensioners here:
Me & My Money: Steve Webb clawed back £1bn for pensioners