James TweedieAll materialsWrite to the authorThe Conservative Party government has taken a series of potentially unpopular steps beginning in the summer, including raising National Insurance contributions for both employers and workers to pay for elderly care and clearing a backlog of NHS cases caused by the pandemic.The British House of Lords has protested the government’s decision to suspend part of the ‘triple lock’ for state pensions next year.A cross-party motion against the move, announced on September 7 by Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, passed by 280 votes to 178 in the upper house on Tuesday.The triple lock pledge sees pensions rise each year using the highest metric of either inflation, average wage increases or a 2.5 percent baseline. Coffey justified ditching the earnings element in the 2022-23 financial plan on the basis that median salaries had jumped by 8 percent this year, following the end of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The move was expected to save around £4 billion, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government also raised National insurance — the UK social security tax — by an additional 1.25 percent. That tax hike was reportedly to fund extra spending by the National Health Service, which has struggled to clear a backlog of cases built up during the lockdown while also funding elderly care.
The opposition Labour party accused the Conservatives of using the pandemic as a “smokescreen” to cover breaking their pensions promise.
"The government made a promise to the British people that they would keep the pensions triple lock. I am grateful that peers voted to keep an accurate link with earnings," Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said.
Rishi Sunak Hoists Red Ensign, Hands Out Populist Prosecco Tax Cut in Heavily Leaked Budget Speech27 October, 14:42 GMTMost parliamentary motions are not legally binding on the government. Even in legislative votes, the elected House of Commons can overrule amendments passed by the appointed and hereditary lords, by defeating them in three consecutive votes.The 280 votes represent just over a third of the 786 peers, a number which fluctuates with the annual royal honours list and the deaths of sitting members.