What Is Triple Lock State Pension? [Complete Guide]
The triple lock is a system of pension prevailing in the United Kingdom. Under this government system, a pensioner’s income after retirement is safeguarded. This system has been crafted in such a way that the pensioner may not suffer following erosion of the value of a currency due to inflation over a period of time. The income of a person who has retired is protected or locked. This locking may be required due to a sudden rise in the price index of consumer products. The prices are variable. They may go up due to inflationary pressures. Here, the triple lock can be of much help to the persons who have retired.
What Is The Triple Lock And How Does It Work?
The operational procedure of triple lock follows a very scientific process. It is a government system that offers benefits to the retired persons in the following three ways:
- Inflation: measured by the Consumer Prices Index.
- Average earnings
- or a minimum of 2.5%
These are the three yardsticks used to decide on how much the pension will rise annually. This is done to protect the pensioner against the inflationary rise in the price of essential commodities and other consumer goods.
The above are three locks to help the retiree to safeguard against rising costs. Hence, it is known as a triple lock.
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Why Is The Triple Lock Good For Pensioners?
The triple lock, introduced in 2010 in the UK, was good for the pensioners as it guaranteed them to live without a financial crunch at the time of inflation or price rise.
The pensioners derived benefits from it in the following ways:
i. The state pension would not lose value in real terms
ii. The state pension would rise in line with inflation thus compensating for the rise in price
iii. The quantum of purchase power of pensioners remains the same even if there is inflation. It would not diminish with the rise in prices of essential goods.
How Could The Triple Lock Pension Affect Me?
The triple lock pension can affect you. It affects you in the following manner:
i. The triple lock ensures that the amount you receive will maintain your purchasing power. The money you get will compensate price rise thus helping you maintain your purchasing power.
ii. It is a shield against inflation. The Consumer Prices Index may rise but you will get additional money to offset the inflationary pressure.
iii. The triple lock helps a pensioner to remain secured against price rises taking place over the years.
iv. The triple lock ensures that your life expectancy is not adversely affected as you will be able to buy the essentials of life even if the prices go up.
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Could The Triple Lock Be Withdrawn Altogether?
The government suspended the triple lock for the tax year 2022-23 to make more permanent changes in the future. However, the triple lock system is unlikely to be withdrawn completely.
The reason for this is the fact that the voter may turn against the government.
Due to this factor, the government is mulling not to withdraw it permanently. The government is likely to replace the system with some similar alternative both to save the government money and keep on helping the pensioners.
The planning of the government to replace the triple lock with a similar system but less burdensome to the state coffer emanated out of the reason that it cost the state more than what was anticipated.
This led the government to mull changing the system but not altogether replacing it.
Why Is Triple Lock Being Suspended?
Suspension of triple lock in September 2021 resulted from the government’s engagement in reassessing this as a financial scheme to cushion against price rise.
The triple lock has only been suspended not withdrawn yet. This suspension of the triple lock is temporary.
One of the reasons for this temporary suspension is the excessive financial burden that the government of the United Kingdom suffered due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
The triple lock is likely to be resumed in the tax year of 2023-24.
What Would Happen To My State Pension Without The Triple Lock?
The quantum of your state pension would be affected adversely without the triple lock. The primary reason for this is that there would be no financial mechanism to offset the price rise with your existing state pension limit.
But the price rise requires you to pay more for the essentials of life. The state pension would prove to be insufficient for you.
The following may happen to your existing state pension without the triple lock system:
i. Immediate impact on current pensioners may not be great as the quantum of the state pension would rise in accordance with the rate of inflation.
ii. However, the purchasing power of pensioners might be affected adversely in the medium to long run.
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Will The Triple Lock Be Taken Away?
An altogether withdrawal of triple lock may not happen as the future of millions of pensioners is directly connected to it.
However, some modifications in it cannot be ruled out. One of the primary reasons for this probable change in the triple lock system is that the financial burden to the government is growing and some modality may be formulated to lessen this burden.
The government is realizing the fact that triple lock as a system has proved costly for the taxpayer. The electorate in the United Kingdom is said to be against the triple lock.
However, it is unlikely to completely scrap the system of the triple lock. Some alternatives to it may be formulated to continue to help the pensioners.
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How Can I Protect Myself Against Changes To The Triple Lock?
In case the triple lock is changed, you can protect yourself in a number of ways.
Total dependence on the triple lock may be reduced by you in the following manner:
i. Concentrate on your personal finance
ii. Go for more savings by curtailing unnecessary or avoidable expenses.
iii. Make a time-bound savings program if your pension will begin after 10 years or 20 years. This will give you enough time to plan out your financial security.
iv. Reduce your overdependence on triple lock.
The triple lock is a well-thought-out plan to provide greater financial security to pensioners in the United Kingdom. The system has been crafted in such a way that the person on superannuation or retirement will not be affected much in case of inflationary pressures. As the pension amount is not the same as the salary income, the pensioner would have run into financial trouble to meet the additional burden of price rise. However, the triple lock as a government system ensured that the pensioner’s purchasing power would not be washed away due to inflation. Hence, the provision of cost index-linked additional payment of money was guaranteed under this system.
Let us know your views and thoughts on Triple Lock. What do you think about the government’s next move? Please mention your views in the comment section.