The Conservative Party will end the triple lock on the state pension in 2020 if they are re-elected at the General Election next month and replace it with a double lock.
The party’s manifesto, published 18 May, said it will keep its promise to maintain the triple lock until 2020, and when it expires pensions will rise in line with the highest of either inflation or earnings, creating a new double lock.
However, the Conservatives have revealed plans to scrap the winter fuel allowance for better-off pensioners in order to fund social care. It plans to means-test winter fuel payments, “focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty”. The money gained from this policy will be transferred directly to health and social care. It will maintain all other pensioner benefits, including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this parliament.
With regards to workplace pensions, the party said it will continue to support the expansion of auto-enrolment by extending it to small employers and making it available to the self-employed. It will also continue to promote long-term savings and pensions products, such as the Lifetime ISA, to “encourage and incentivise more people to make provision for long-term needs”.
Following the high profile BHS pension scandal, the Conservatives revealed plans to tighten the rules surrounding business owners who “abuse pension funds and put them at risk” for their own “lavish enrichment”.
“We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and The Pensions Regulator the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme.
“We will also give The Pensions Regulator new powers to issue punitive fines for those found to have wilfully left a pension scheme under-resourced and, if necessary, powers similar to those already held by the Insolvency Service to disqualify the company directors in question. We will consider introducing a new criminal offence for company directors who deliberately or recklessly put at risk the ability of a pension scheme to meet its obligations.”
Under plans to create UK sovereign wealth funds, the Conservatives will create a number of Future Britain funds, and pension funds will be encouraged to join the funds.