Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain, has today slammed the Government for failing to commit to raising pensions in line with inflation, which threatens to plunge thousands of older people across the region into poverty.
The figures, obtained by Imran from DWP benefit statistics and ONS average weekly earnings and inflation indices, show that 77,000 older people in the Bradford District and 368,000 older people across the whole of West Yorkshire will face an estimated £912 reduction in the mean pension amount if the Government scraps the triple lock on pensions for another year.
Older people in West Yorkshire have already been left worse off by the Government following their decision by the current Prime Minister when he was Chancellor to scrap the triple lock for 2022/23, with pensioners across the region seeing a real-terms cut of £413 to their incomes.
The triple lock on pensions ensures that the basic and new State Pension is uprated by the highest of earnings, inflation or 2.5%, but with Consumer Price Index inflation reaching 10.1% in September 2022, anything below this rate would mean a real-terms cut for pensioners during the middle of a rising cost-of-living crisis that has seen older people face soaring energy bills, mounting food prices and spiralling fuel costs.
The potential for a further increase in the number of pensioners in poverty is particularly worrying as research from the Centre for Ageing Better has already found that around 1 in 5 older people (more than 2 million) were already living in relative poverty as of 2019/20, which is an increase of 200,000 people from the year before.
Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next week on Thursday 17 November 2022, the Labour Party therefore tabled an Opposition Day motion in Parliament this week calling on the Government to “commit to maintaining the State Pension triple lock in financial year 2023-24”.
Speaking on the Government’s refusal to commit to maintaining the triple lock on pensions, Imran said:
“Under the last 12 years of this Government, older people across West Yorkshire have faced hardship after hardship, from the scrapping of the free TV license for over 75s to cuts to bus services that many rely on, but their refusal to increase pensions in line with inflation for another year running is the cruellest of all.
“If the new Prime Minister fails to maintain the triple lock on pensions, over 12,000 older people across my constituency and over 350,000 across the whole of West Yorkshire face a real-terms cut to their incomes from April, threatening to plunge many into poverty in the middle of a soaring cost-of-living crisis.
“Older people have worked incredibly hard for their pensions and they deserve to be able to retire in comfort without worrying how they will put food on their table or keep their homes warm, so whilst the Government may be turning their back on our older generations, I was proud to vote to protect them this afternoon in Parliament by backing keeping the triple lock on their pensions.”