Jeremy Hunts triple lock pressure as Labour demands answers over Tory leak

Labour refuses to guarantee triple lock for pensions

Labour has leapt on comments made by a top Tory Treasury minister, demanding answers after he suggested the triple lock is becoming unaffordable.

John Glen, speaking to Cambridge University Conservatives, said the Government and public “need to come to terms with the fact that the triple lock is very expensive and how sustainable is that going forward in terms of pensions and all other benefits?”

He also suggested the universal winter fuel payment for pensions could become means-tested, with cash being funnelled towards child poverty instead.

While Mr Glen was moved to the Cabinet Office in last Monday’s reshuffle, at the time he made the remarks in October he was the second most senior minister in the Treasury, serving as its Chief Secretary.

This afternoon Labour piled on pressure over the comments, demanding to know whether Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt agree with him.

READ MORE: Top minister caught questioning whether pensions triple lock is sustainable

Darren Jones, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, wrote to the Chancellor noting that pensioners will be “deeply concerned with such speculation, especially ahead of winter”.

He added the elderly will now be “anxious” that their incomes “may be under threat from this government”.

The letter also points out the top Tory’s leaked comments come on top of previous speculation that the Government may deviate from the triple lock in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement.

Mr Hunt is reportedly considering upgrading pensions in line with the rise in earnings, but stripping out bonuses in order to save the Government £900million.

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The Chancellor has been warned not to “fiddle with” the triple lock.

Mr Jones’s letter sets out a number of questions for the government, demanding they specify whether the views on the triple lock are shared with other senior ministers.

  1. Is this the view of the PM?
  2. Is this the view of the Treasury?
  3. What discussions have been held regarding the future of the Winter Fuel Payment
  4. Clarify which groups of pensioners the now-Cabinet Office minister does not think should receive the Winter Fuel Payment
  5. Is the Government considering any other changes to pensioners’ incomes, and is the Government committed to the triple lock?

A Treasury spokesman has insisted Mr Glen’s comments are “not something we are going to do”.

In July Labour themselves were accused of being untrustworthy on the triple lock are refusing to commit to keeping the pension protection in place if it wins power.

Sir Keir’s party has refused to give a cast-iron guarantee the triple lock will continue under a Labour Government, insisting it can’t commit to it until they know the state of finances they will inherit.

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