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Jeremy Hunt hints at triple lock betrayal as 270,000 sign petition demanding he honour vow


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has admitted manifesto promises can be broken in a “very exceptional circumstance” when asked about the triple lock on pensions.

More than 270,000 people have signed a petition by the Daily Express and campaign group Silver Voices to end the speculation over the future of the policy next year.

Asked during a Q&A at a fringe event hosted by the Centre for Policy Studies whether he would consider reviewing the state pension triple-lock, Mr Hunt said: “I think that we have to be very careful not to break manifesto promises. Sometimes, it does happen.”

He added: “But I think it needs to be a very exceptional circumstance where people can see that there’s a very good reason.

“And to give you an idea of the priority which I attach to that particular promise, which is very, very important to a large group of people, many of whom are very vulnerable, when I was having to do some very difficult sums in the run-up to the autumn statement, you know, cutting spending by £30 billion, increasing tax by £25 billion, that might have been a moment where we decided we had to do something with the triple-lock.

“We decided not to. So I think hopefully that indicates to you the priority with which we give that particular policy.”

The state pension rises in line with the highest of CPI inflation, average earnings growth or 2.5 percent.

Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices said “Older people were largely ignored in the last general election campaign, even though we represent a quarter of the electorate.

“The polite and non-political urgings of the old-age charities received very little public attention. This time we are going to demand that the challenges facing older people are aired and debated.

Mr Hunt also said he would choose cutting taxes for businesses before any other area but cautioned “at the moment, we are not in a position to have that discussion”.

He said: “Obviously, in the run up to an election, I would love to do a tax cut that ordinary people felt to show people our values, and we believe that money is better when it stays in people’s pockets than when the State takes it away

“At the moment, we are not in a position to have that discussion or even, you know, have that sort of what-if kind of scenario in our minds, because any tax cut would be inflationary…”

He insisted it “would be absolutely crazy to give people money with a tax cut in one hand and then for them to see all that money taken away by inflation going back up in the other, so it’s not a time we can discuss that.”

Mr Hunt also said that the Conservative has “all the values that younger people love” and more needs to be done to woo them.

Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/stick-with-the-triple-lock

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