THE UK Government has “betrayed” pensioners by scrapping the triple lock on pensions, the SNP have said.

The link between state pension increases and wage growth has been severed for a year, the UK Government announced today.

Pensioners would have received a raise of as much as 8% - around an extra £3 billion collectively.

The triple lock - a Tory manifesto commitment - guarantees that pensions grow in line with whichever is highest out of earnings, inflation, or 2.5%.

READ MORE: National Insurance increase: Five times Tories claimed they wouldn't raise taxes

However, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told MPs that next year's increase will be based on either 2.5% or inflation because there had been an “irregular statistical spike in earnings” over the period pensions are set.

Coffey said the decision to remove the earnings benchmark “will also ensure that as we are having to make difficult decisions elsewhere across public spending, including freezing public sector pay, pensioners are not unfairly benefiting from a statistical anomaly”.

It came just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke another manifesto commitment by increasing National Insurance to fund health and social care.

The SNP hit out at the move and said the only way to protect Scotland’s pensioners is to become an independent country.

The National:

Therese Coffey told MPs of the change to the triple lock just hours after the rise to National Insurance was announced

They pointed out that the UK already has the lowest state pension, as a proportion of pre-retirement wages, compared to our European neighbours.

House of Commons Library research revealed that UK pensioners receive around a quarter (28%) of the average working wage when they retire.

In stark contrast, pensioners in Luxembourg and Austria receive 90% of the average working wage.

The data also shows that pensioners in independent countries of Scotland's size or smaller receive a much higher proportion of the average working wage (64%) than UK pensioners (28%) and more than the average of countries in north west Europe (62%).

READ MORE: Scotland is 'being shafted' by Tory plans to raise National Insurance

This year, UK pensioner poverty levels rose to a 15 year high - with 2.1million UK pensioners (18%) now living in poverty after housing costs, an increase of 200,000 on 2018/19.

David Linden, SNP MP and Shadow Work and Pensions spokesperson, said: “By scrapping the triple lock on pensions, this Tory government has broken yet another manifesto commitment.

"A decade of Tory austerity cuts, coupled with one of the worst state pensions in the developed world, means that millions of our older people are already living in poverty.

"Scrapping the triple lock is another hammer blow for pensioners from the UK government.

“Pensioner poverty is already at a 15 year high under Boris Johnson’s watch, and will only be exacerbated by this betrayal. Tory ministers should be ashamed.


The National: SNP’s David Linden represents Glasgow East

David Linden said the announcement was "another hammer blow" for Scots pensioners

"With each day that passes it's becoming clearer that the Tory government has absolutely no intention of looking to protect our older people and secure a real recovery from the pandemic.

"The data shows that pensioners in independent countries of Scotland's size or smaller receive a much higher proportion of the average working wage. Independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts.

“We need the full powers of independence to protect and boost the incomes of pensioners and secure a strong recovery.”

READ MORE: Programme for Government: Sturgeon vows to hold independence referendum

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “The Government has decided to load all the bad news into a single day, breaking not one but two manifesto commitments.

“The decision to scrap the state pension triple lock for 2022/23 was undoubtedly linked to today’s social care announcement, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson keen to ensure that, optically at least, both younger and older voters are sharing the burden of coronavirus-related costs.

“Whether or not voters will forgive the Government is another question entirely, however.

“Research carried out by AJ Bell yesterday suggested just 8% of people support any change to the triple lock – although it is possible this particular piece of bad news will be largely buried by the National Insurance hike announced earlier today.”