Should we keep the triple lockdown? The readers who claim cuts are a disaster versus those who say we can’t afford it

No other topic has as many opinions as the state pension. Whether it’s the cost of deployment, the pros and cons of the triple-lock guarantee, or government interference, everyone has an opinion.

Seven days ago I wrote an article on the sustainability of the triple lockdown against the backdrop of a likely increase in the state pension of more than 8 percent from the start of the new tax year next April.

It attracted more than 1,700 comments online. I also received a flood of emails from readers eager to share their opinions.

A big thank you to everyone who commented. And a special thank you to everyone who wrote to me personally. Feedback is what we want. Journalists don’t have all the answers (on the contrary).

That’s why today we’re devoting a section of Money Mail to what you have to say about the triple lockdown, the justice or injustice of the state pension, and its future.

Pension security: Few readers believe that the triple lock guarantee should be abolished. But many believe it needs refinement

Pension security: Few readers believe that the triple lock guarantee should be abolished. But many believe it needs refinement

The triple lock: fair or too generous?

Few readers believe that the triple lock guarantee should be scrapped. But many believe it needs refinement.

Currently, it promises an annual increase in the state pension based on higher income growth (between May and July year-on-year), inflation (year-to-September), or 2.5 percent.

With earnings growth outpacing inflation (8.2 percent versus 6.8 percent), it will be the salary component of the triple lockdown that next year’s state pension increase will be based on.

If earnings growth remains at 8.2 per cent when the figures are released next month, it will result in an annual increase in the maximum state pension from £869 to £11,469.

Those who retired before 2016 will receive less as their full basic state pension rises from £8,122 to £8,788 in the new tax year from April 6.

Alan McFarland, a 67-year-old retired contracts manager at Yellow Pages, believes maintaining the value of the state pension is a “government obligation.”

Alan, who lives in Reading, Berkshire with his wife Kim, says: “Government needs to distinguish between essential and non-essential spending.”

NO! A cut in the state pension will lead Britain to financial disaster.” LEE TUCKER67, Truro

“The state pension is essential and should not be diluted in any way.” But other spending, such as foreign aid to fast-growing economies, is a luxury this country can no longer afford.”

Another problem Alan has with the state pension is the tendency for governments to meddle with the rules — for example, by pushing up the age at which people start drawing that pension. Between 2026 and 2028, the statutory retirement age will be raised from 66 to 67 years.

“Changing the goalposts is wrong,” he says. “People need to be given more certainty about what state pension they can expect so they can plan accordingly.”

Jim Bell, a 75-year-old retired businessman from Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway, believes it is impractical to keep the triple lockdown in its current form. Experts estimate it will cost £10 billion in the next fiscal year.

“The country just can’t afford the triple lockdown,” says Jim. He believes a better way to calculate the increase would be to base it on the average of earnings growth, inflation and 2.5 percent.

Big increases: If earnings growth remains at 8.2% when figures are released next month, that will result in an annual increase in the maximum state pension from £869 to £11,469

Big increases: If earnings growth remains at 8.2% when figures are released next month, that will result in an annual increase in the maximum state pension from £869 to £11,469

So if it turns out that 8.2 percent income growth and 6.8 percent inflation are the relevant numbers for calculating next year’s state pension, Jim’s method would result in an increase of 5.8 percent instead of 8.2 percent lead.

Last year, ahead of the 10.1 percent increase in the state pension that went into effect in April this year, Jim wrote to his local lawmaker with his idea for triple lockdown reform.

But he received no reply from David Mundell, Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

“It’s a simple idea,” says Jim. “It would give pensioners like me a fair raise without the government having to fund shocking increases or incurring the wrath of pensioners by suspending the triple lockdown, as it did last year.”

For the year beginning April 2022, the increase in the state pension has been capped at 3.1 percent (the rise in inflation) rather than income growth (9 percent) as public finances have been severely stretched during the pandemic.

Several readers believe that any increase in the state pension should be subject to a cap – figures of 5 percent and 6 percent have been given.

This would apply if the triple lock resulted in a higher percentage. “It’s common sense,” says Brian Agnew (not his real name) pensioner from Eastbourne, East Sussex.

“The chancellor should set the upper limit each year in good time before the triple ban is applied.”


Pressure test: Currently, the triple lockdown promises an annual increase in the state pension based on higher income growth, inflation, or 2.5%.

Consider freezing the certificates

Some readers believe that increases in the state pension this year and next need to be put into context.

That’s because the government’s decision to freeze the personal allowance (the amount you can earn before income tax takes effect) has resulted in many retirees paying more in taxes.

Among them is 86-year-old Jean Nevins from Newcastle upon Tyne. Jean, who worked in management computer systems for a leading sports brand. She now pays more income tax on her state pension and small private pension than ever before.

The country simply cannot afford these massive annual increases in our payouts. JIM BELL75, Lockerbie

This is because more of their income exceeds the personal allowance, which has been frozen at £12,570 since 2021 and will remain so until April 2028.

“I’m not exactly struggling,” says Jean, “but I have to keep a close eye on my spending.”

“The government gave us a nice increase in the state pension this year and you see the cards being considered for next year too, but I’m not stupid.” “What the government gives with one hand, they take with the other.”

Don Hanley of South Woodham Ferrers in Essex shares this view.

Don, who has worked in the textile industry for most of his career, says the 10.1 percent increase in the state pension this year has caused him to pay income tax again because his income exceeds his personal allowance.

“I never thought I’d be paying income tax again when I was 75,” he says. “It doesn’t seem right or fair.”

State Pension: Stick or Twist?

Lee Tucker, 67, has nothing to do with those who believe the cost of maintaining the state pension (more than £120billion this fiscal year) is prohibitive. Some experts, like think tank The Adam Smith Institute, argue that means testing should be used.

“Too many experts see the state pension as just a cost to the taxpayer,” says Lee, who is married and lives in Truro, Cornwall.


“What they’re forgetting is that the £120 billion is money that won’t just go away.” Most of that goes back into the economy in the form of spending, which in turn generates tax revenue – for example VAT on eating out, fuel tax on Gasoline and of course income tax [the State Pension is taxable].

“Most of the people who are in the shops and cafes in Truro during the day are pensioners. I doubt that all these high street businesses, which often employ young people, would survive if the older ones didn’t spend part of their state pension on them.”

Lee warns politicians, “Any government that tries to lower the cost of state pensions by restricting it will lead the country into financial disaster.”

It is a view that resonates with many readers. Wreck our pensions at your own risk.

What do you think of the state pension? Email

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Drew Weisholtz

Drew Weisholtz is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Drew Weisholtz joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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