Pensions Minister promises £2.1 billion to bring pension up by £2.70 a week
The Government will give an extra £2.8 billion to pensioners and the disabled and vulnerable people of working age, the Pensions Minister has said.
Steve Webb told MPs that on the basic state pension, the coalition had stood by its triple-lock commitment to uprate it by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent. Setting out a breakdown of the spending, he pledged that “in these difficult times no one is left behind”.
His comments came as MPs debated motions to approve the draft Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Increase Order 2013 and the draft Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2013.
Mr Webb said: “At a time when the nation’s finances remain under real pressure, this Government will be spending an extra £2.8 billion in 2013-14 to ensure that those people who are least able to change their regular income are protected against cost-of-living increases.
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“Of this, around £2.1 billion is on the state pension, including an above-inflation increase for the basic pension, nearly half a billion will go to disabled people and their carers and nearly £300 million will go to people of working age.
“We have protected the triple lock, we have helped our poorest pensioners and have protected the key benefits for disabled people.
“Even as we face the need to make savings to rebalance our economy, we have still found money for a 1 per cent increase to help support those who are not currently in work.”
Mr Webb said that this year the third element of the Government’s triple lock comes into play – the 2.5 per cent minimum commitment.
There would be a £2.70 per week increase, he said, taking a basic state pension to £110.15 a week, so from April 2013 the basic pension would be 18 per cent of average earnings.
But shadow employment minister Stephen Timms argued the increase in the state pension was less this year than if the uprating method previously used was still in place, adding: “In RPI terms for the second year this is a real-terms cut in the value of the basic state pension as well as a real-terms cut in terms of today’s CPI (Consumer Price Index) rate.”