Baroness Thomas of Winchester (Spokesperson in the Lords, Work & Pensions; Liberal Democrat)
No one doubts the Government's intention to restore the link with earnings. Indeed it is enshrined in statute already, as my noble friend has said. However, a legitimate question for Parliament and the public to ask is "When has a Government promise been fulfilled?" Is it when the promise is enshrined in statute? Is it when the relevant section of an Act has been triggered by the publication of a statutory instrument bringing the promise into operation? Or is it when the Government have announced a firm starting date? In the other place the Minister said that the Government's objective was,
"subject to affordability and the fiscal position",
to restore the link in 2012 or by the end of the next Parliament at the latest. However, this still leaves pensioners, current and future, in the dark. I urge the Government to take this opportunity to put the matter unequivocally beyond doubt.