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What does falling inflation mean for the triple lock and State Pension?

With UK inflation falling to 4.6% in October, here’s what it could mean for the triple lock, the State Pension and how much you could get.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

This article is more than 6 months old

It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

Runaway prices saw pensioners awarded a 10.1% increase earlier this year for the State Pension under the triple lock. And as inflation finally started to drop back, the thinking was the next increase would be substantial, but not blockbusting.

However, this thinking has been undone by rampant earnings growth which has well overtaken inflation to sit at 8.5% over the relevant period. This contrasts with inflation’s September reading of 6.7% which is used for the triple lock.

What is the triple lock?

The triple lock pledges to raise the state pension each April by the highest of:

  • 2.5%
  • CPI inflation
  • Average earnings growth

How much State Pension could I currently get and when?

This means we could see someone on a full basic State Pension get a rise from £156.20 per week to around £169.50. Someone reaching State Pension age under the new system (post 2016) could see their income rise from £203.85 per week to £221.20.

The State Pension isn’t the same for everyone though.

The amount you get depends on whether you qualify for the basic or new State Pension and how many ‘qualifying years’ of National Insurance (NI) contributions you have.

It will also depend on whether you contracted out of the additional State Pension.

The easiest way to check how much State Pension income you could get is by asking for a State Pension forecast.

The government’s calculator can also help you find out the earliest age you can claim payments.


Could the government tweak the State Pension?

Such a huge increase will undoubtedly be welcomed by pensioners who’ve struggled during the cost-of-living crisis.

We’ve since seen inflation drop back further to its current level of 4.6% in October. So to receive an 8.5% increase will relieve some of the stress on pensioner budgets.

However, it puts pressure on the government who are already trying to contain the burgeoning cost of this vital benefit.

We could see tinkering with the triple lock in the months to come.

The high wage data figure was swollen by one-off bonuses to NHS and civil service workers. So there’s a chance the government could opt to use a figure that strips out the effect of these payments.

This would still see them deliver an inflation-busting increase. They could also opt to break the triple lock by using the 6.7% inflation figure instead. With inflation predicted to fall even further in the new year, this would still be a healthy increase.

There is precedent for this.

During the pandemic, earnings data was boosted by the effect of furlough, leading to the government opting to use a lower inflation figure instead.

However, it’s fair to say that with a general election looming, it’s something it would need to think about very carefully.

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure what’s right for your circumstances, ask for financial advice. Pension and tax rules can change, and benefits depend on your circumstances.

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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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