Triple lock is back! Pensions set to rise by 7.4%

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Pension ‘is not a benefit’ says caller on Jeremy Vine

The Chancellor said the rise in April 2023 would be in line with the inflation rate in September this year, which is expected to be around 7.4 percent. The move will be welcomed by pensioners battered by the soaring cost of living. Mr Sunak forecast the increase yesterday when he told MPs the triple lock mechanism for determining annual pension rises would be restored. He had faced widespread anger after suspending the formula for this year.

The Chancellor told the Commons Treasury Committee: “The triple lock will function as it normally functions.”

He was criticised after suspending the triple lock, because the surge in earnings as the economy reopened after the lockdown would have forced a pensions rise of around eight percent.

Instead, he pegged pensions to a 3.1 percent rise next month, leaving millions of pensioners facing a squeeze in income due to rampant prices rises.

But, quizzed about his plans for pension rises at a hearing of the committee at Westminster, the Chancellor insisted the triple lock would be reinstated in full.

Tory MP Harriett Baldwin asked the Chancellor: “For pensioners this year, you’re guaranteeing the triple lock again?”

Mr Sunak replied: “Yes.” Asked what the Treasury was budgeting for the pension rise, he added: “It will be whatever the estimated Consumer Price Index is in September – seven-ish percent.”

Treasury official Dan York-Smith, appearing alongside the Chancellor, pointed out that the official forecast for CPI inflation this September was 7.4 percent.

Officials use wage and inflation levels each September for setting state pension rises for the following year under the triple lock formula.

Rishi Sunak

Mr Sunak forecast the increase yesterday (Image: Getty)

The triple lock is a government commitment to increase the value of the state pension every new tax year by either inflation, average wage growth or 2.5 percent – whichever is higher.

Mr Sunak also defended his recent Spring Statement following widespread criticism that it failed to do enough for pensioners and households hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

He said that “irresponsible” borrowing levels risked stoking inflation even further, adding to the pressure on living standards.

He said: “We are already forecast to borrow in this coming year about 60 percent, more as a percentage of GDP than our post-war average, 20 percent more as a percentage of GDP than we were forecast to borrow in October, so it is already a significant amount of borrowing.

“My view is an excessive amount of borrowing now is not the responsible thing to do.” Mr Sunak defended the choices he had made in last week’s statement.

Conservative MP Mel Stride, the committee chairman, said the Chancellor had done “very little” for those who were out of work and relying on benefits.

Mr Sunak said: “If someone’s view is Government can or should make everybody whole for inflation – particularly inflation at these levels caused by global supply factors – then that’s something that I don’t think is do-able.”

An excessive amount of borrowing now is not the responsible thing to do

He said that “irresponsible” borrowing levels risked stoking inflation even further, adding to the pressure on living standards. Mr Sunak said his plan to cut the basic rate of income tax from 2024 would inject “discipline” into the debate about public spending levels.

He added: “Now having something to aim for means that hopefully we can have a more disciplined conversation about incremental public spending at this point, which is already at very high levels. My priority at this point forward is to keep cutting taxes, not increased public spending.”

His remarks followed a fresh warning from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey. He said: “This really is an historic shock to real incomes. The shock from energy prices this year will be larger than every single year in the 1970s.”

The Chancellor also confirmed the publication of the Government’s energy security strategy, which aims to set out a plan for addressing soaring fuel prices, has been delayed. But he denied the Treasury was blocking the publication.

EU to sue UK on wind subsidies

BRUSSELS has infuriated ministers by launching a legal action against Government subsidies for the offshore wind industry.

The European Commission yesterday complained to the World Trade Organisation that Boris Johnson’s administration favoured British firms when handing out tens of millions in taxpayer-funded investment.

Eurocrats accused the UK Government of “discriminatory practices” that breached international competition rules.

Ministers are furious the EU has triggered the row when Western countries are cooperating on the drive to find alternative energy sources to Russian gas and oil.

A Government spokesman said: “It is particularly disappointing the EU has chosen to initiate the dispute now, considering the collaboration between the UK and the EU in the face of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“The UK abides by World Trade Organisation law and will rigorously contest the challenge.”

The UK Government has a commitment to ensure 60 percent of the parts in offshore wind farms are made in the UK by 2030.

Plans for five new wind farms off the North East coast have been launched over the last year. Officials say they will secure 3,000 jobs and bring around £1.5billion of investment.

Fuel cut ‘a flop’

FORECOURTS have failed to fully pass on Rishi Sunak’s duty cut to drivers, motor experts have said, writes Steph Spyro.

Mr Sunak reduced fuel duty by 5p per litre last Wednesday, which should have seen a saving of around 6p per litre. But the average price of a litre of petrol at forecourts fell 3.7p per litre, data firm Experian Catalist showed.

Fuel

Mr Sunak reduced fuel duty by 5p per litre last Wednesday (Image: Getty)

The average price of diesel fell by 2.4p per litre over the same period, from 179.7p to 177.3p. The AA’s Luke Bosdet said: “The fuel trade always disputes the accusation that pump prices shoot up like a rocket and fall like a feather. Now we know the truth.”

Electic shock

STANDING charges on electricity are set to double in some parts of the country. The fixed daily payment covering costs of supply and other levies could rise by an average of £71 a year in April.

But in south Scotland, Merseyside, North Wales and the South-west the charge is likely to double. In London and the East the rise could be less than 60 percent.

Jeehan Saleh, of Garston, Liverpool, said: “It’s always us being hit the hardest.”

Regulator Ofgem caps the charge for those on standard default tariffs but the cap varies due to different costs of supplying homes.

Day 2: Our guide to cope with cost of living rises

TODAY’S food prices are hard to swallow, as Britons have to fork out more and more to meet rocketing prices, writes Harvey Jones, Personal Finance Editor.

The average household spends £126 a month on groceries, up from £87.30 this time last year and a rise of 45 percent, according to figures from insurers LifeSearch.

Food costs jumped 4.3 percent in February, the fastest annual growth rate for eight years, according to market analysts Kantar – and there’s plenty more to come.

Savoury snacks, fresh beef and cat food have shot up fastest, Kantar says, although the cost of bacon, beer and spirits actually fell.

Millions face a battle to eat well, and cheaply.We managed it during the SecondWorldWar, when the nation’s diet actually improved as food became scarce, and we can do it again.

Here are some top tips for keeping your food bills down, while avoiding waste and still enjoying a few treats.

HOW TO KEEP A LID ON BILLS:

Try building meals around what’s in your cupboard, fridge or freezer before buying more.

Jonny Sabinsky, from budgeting app Think Money, said: “Use up what you’ve got to cut waste, rather than choosing a recipe that requires a host of new ingredients.”

Write down what you’ve got before you hit the shops. Sabinsky said: “We’ve all ended up in the supermarket aisles trying to remember whether we’ve got salt, pepper and ketchup at home.Too often we double up just in case.”

Draw up meals, as this has two advantages. First, you buy only what you need and, second, it will stop you browsing the aisles and picking up whatever takes your fancy.

Most modern supermarkets now do their own brand or cheaper version of essential items such as tinned tomatoes, beans, rice and pasta, so use them to stock up cheaply. Sabinsky said: “Premium brands charge premium prices, yet the quality isn’t always better.”

When buying reduced items, check if they can be frozen. Sabinsky said: “Plenty of meats and fish can go in the freezer, most fruit and veg can’t.”

Don’t lose your head over offers and promotions. “It’s only a great bargain if you actually use it,” he added.

 

Supermarket

Most modern supermarkets now do their own brand or cheaper version of essential item (Image: Getty)

Do bigger shops less often. Getting to the supermarket costs money. Doing bigger shops less often could save petrol money.

Buy frozen. If you are always left with a mouldy bag of potatoes or carrots, consider buying your vegetables frozen.

Head to discount supermarkets. Britons are making a beeline to discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Bulk buying food and nonperishables such as loo roll and toiletries can save money, and you could split the cost with others.

Search for discounts. Try to time your supermarket trips for when your local stores add yellow reduced stickers to stock that needs to be sold that day, typically in the afternoon or early evening.

Some ways to make your food go further

MONEY-SAVING KITCHEN TIPS:

If milk is likely to go off before you use it, stick it in the freezer so it won’t bad.

Freeze leftover herbs with melted butter in an ice tray to cook with later. Do the same with garlic, chillies, ginger and so on.

Don’t bin those old and wrinkly tomatoes. Roast them in the oven with garlic or boil them up to make a pasta or pizza sauce.

Cut back on meat. Cheaper pulses, chickpeas and beans can bulk up sauces and stews.

Use up leftovers. Turn old veg into soups, sauces or chutneys.

Freeze browning bananas for smoothies.

Dry bread makes great croutons.

SHOPPING HACKS:

Beware taking kids to the local supermarket – pester power can bump up your bill.

Visit local markets – big reductions late in the on fresh fruit and veg.

Avoid prepared foods such as salads, pastas and chopped fresh fruit as they are pricey.

Eat before you shop. It is never wise to trawl the aisles when you’re feeling peckish.

Shun bottled water. It’s cheaper from the tap with no bottles.

Shop in season to avoid overpriced fruit and veg.

Stock up your pantry during the sales – and check receipts as errors are common than think.

BATCH OF THE DAY:

Families could cut waste and save around £1,440 a year by batch cooking, which involves preparing larger meals than freezing the surplus to use later, research from Pyrex suggests.

It helps you eat more healthily and save time overall, says family cooking expert Suzanne Mulholland, author of The Batch Lady.

You only need a large pan to cook more ingredients in one go and freezer-friendly containers to do this.

Double or triple your usual ingredients and set aside the extra portions to freeze and later.

Pasta is great for batch cooking in particular.

Cool your prepared meals before putting them in the fridge or freezer. Label them with the date – most should be eaten within three months.

You can find recipes at pyrex.co.uk/pages/batchingforbeginners or search for batch cooking at BBC Good Food, 50 Batch Cooking Recipes from Food Network or Jamie Oliver’s Batch Cooking Recipes. Influencer Miguel Barclay (@ OnePoundMeals) is worth following for his recipes.

USE CARDS, CASHBACK AND APPS:

Moneysavingexpert.com devotes a whole to freebies and discounts available at supermarkets.

TopCashback offers up to £11 back when you shop with Sainsbury’s Groceries. Quidco is also popular, as is The Iceland Bonus Card. Scanning your receipts to app Shoppix will let you collect tokens that you can exchange for rewards.

Community app OLIO helps neighbours connect to share unwanted food between them.

FORMER pub chef Fiona Hawkes loves using cashback apps like Shopmium to get discounts and freebies while doing her weekly shop.

She also uses Trolley.co.uk to compare supermarket prices before heading out.

Somerset, keeps her eyes peeled for yellow stickers advertising reduced items, too.

She said: “It’s a great way to stock up on meat for the freezer, as it’s often the most expensive part of the meal.

“Evenings are best but check at other times, too,” says Fiona, who runs money-saving blog SavvyInSomerset.com.

“I’ve had 75 percent off chicken at 8am and raspberries for 10p at lunch.”



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