The Government was defeated in the House of Lords yesterday afternoon by 220 votes to 178 on an amendment on the state pension triple lock. Under the amendment, the Government would be required to retain the ‘earnings link’ element of the triple lock but would be allowed to use an ‘underlying’ earnings growth figure which stripped out the effects of the Pandemic rather than the ‘headline’ 8.3% figure produced by the Office for National Statistics. The amendment had support from peers of all parties.
However, according to LCP partner and former pensions minister Steve Webb, the Government is ‘certain’ to overturn the defeat when the issue now comes back to the House of Commons for further debate.
Commenting, Steve Webb said:
“Even though no government likes being defeated in the House of Lords, sometimes they will consider a concession in order to get their legislation through. But on an issue like this, there seems no prospect of a government concession when MPs are asked to consider the issue again. An alternative measure of earnings growth could lead to a multi-billion pound bill which could cause the Chancellor to re-write his Budget. By convention, the House of Commons has supremacy when it comes to financial matters and the Lords will come under great pressure to back down if the Commons simply vote down today’s amendment. The Government seems certain to use its comfortable majority in the Commons to overturn this defeat in the House of Lords. But it is a sign that any attempt to drop the triple lock for more than one year could meet some stiff resistance”.