Backbench Business — [Un-allotted Day] — CPI/RPI Pensions Uprating

Part of Bill Presented — Private Pensions (Charges, Disclosure and Accountability) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:30 pm on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Stephen Lloyd Stephen Lloyd Liberal Democrat, Eastbourne 1:30 pm, 1st March 2012

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me that information. I was not aware of it, but it does not surprise me in the slightest. I know that the hon. Gentleman has been a doughty fighter on this point for many years and it is a great shame that he was not able to persuade those on his Front Bench to act when they were in government. I heard earlier that perhaps all those things will change when he leads the Labour party, so I look forward to that day.

The triple lock, to pick up on what Grahame M. Morris said, is one of those things that are a bit confusing. What the hell does it mean, the triple lock, 2.5%? I understand that it is difficult to explain to people. I find it difficult to understand what it means, because I am not very good with percentages. Where are we coming from with phrases such as “triple lock”?

When my constituents ask what the triple lock really means, I tell them—forgive me; I am not trying to make a huge political point, but this is true in Eastbourne—that the 75p pension issue they were so furious about would not be possible under the triple lock guarantee. We need to find the language and best way of putting across such points, and this one is very important.

I know that a few people want to speak and that the Minister will have a lot of details to cover, but there is one key issue that I have been mulling over for quite a while. I, like many hon. Members, get a lot of information from different sides of the divide. Some people say that they will lose tens of thousands because of the switch to

CPI, whereas those on the other side of the argument say the figures are nowhere near that amount and will be X rather than Y. To be honest, I am a bit confused.

As we are having this debate—again, I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington for securing it—I want the Minister to answer one specific question, so that it has been asked in the Chamber and is in Hansard . Will he confirm today that combining the triple lock guarantee, restoring the earnings link and benchmarking by CPI will mean that the basic state pension will, on the best estimates available over a 20-year period, be about £13,000 more than if we had simply retained RPI? I would be grateful if the Minister could confirm that unambiguously so that the public can be confident, in one way or another, about what the changes mean. Will they be £13,000 better off? Yes or no?