18 May 2017
DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds has said the Democratic Unionist Party will oppose plans to break the pensions “triple lock” and to means test present universal benefits for pensioners.
DUP Deputy Leader, Leader of the DUP Parliamentary Party, Spokesman on Reform and Constitutional issues and Foreign Affairs
Commenting on proposals within the Conservative Party manifesto Mr Dodds said, “In the DUP’s 2015 Westminster Manifesto we made clear our support for the pensions triple lock and for the current universal benefits for pensioners. That remains our position and we have concerns about proposals within the Conservative manifesto.
The basic UK state pension is only a modest amount and there are many pensioners who rely on it to get by. The introduction of the triple lock has ensured that pensioners incomes relative to the working population have improved, but this could now slip back with the removal of one element of that triple lock.
Aside from their pension, many older people rely on savings to survive and they have been hit through low interest rates whilst the cost of living has risen sharply.
The Winter Fuel Allowance is also vital for many older people and we believe this should be retained as a universal benefit with the current eligibility criteria. There will be particular concern about the proposals within the Conservative manifesto in this area as the cut-off level has not been specified above which pensioners will not receive the payment.
The proposals for social care in England will impact on very many pensioners who could not be described as wealthy, so if such a model was followed for the Winter Fuel Payment then it would hit many older people who are living on a relatively modest income.
DUP MPs will oppose the introduction of such measures in the next Parliament and protect our older people from their impact.”