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DUP Deputy Leader and Peer Nigel Dodds has welcomed the Government’s proposal to increase pensions by 2.5% in line with the triple lock which was secured as part of the Confidence & Supply Agreement in 2017.

He also pressed the Government to extend the £20 per week uplift for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit recipients beyond April and provide certainty for recipients.

Nigel Dodds said,

“We are firmly committed to the triple lock having made it part of the Programme for Government under our Confidence and Supply Agreement in the last Parliament.

The triple lock helps redress intergenerational unfairness and keep pensioners’ incomes higher than they would otherwise be, given the relatively low basic level of state pension in the UK compared to other countries.

Secondly, the unjust frozen pension policy that affects some half a million pensioners who, despite paying into the system and serving their country, have had their pension frozen since they moved to Canada, Australia, South Africa and so on. This is a wrong that needs to be put right. The Government must take action and at long last to pay these pensioners what they are entitled to.

Thirdly, the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was given in March 2020 but legacy benefits should also have seen the same uplift and the Government should explain why people on legacy benefits have not seen a similar increase.

The extra £1040 a year in Universal Credit has been very important in helping support people facing terrible financial disruption from increased unemployment as well as increased food and utility and other unavoidable costs as a result of living and working from home.

It’s clear the disruption and financial hardship due to Covid-19 is going to continue beyond April. Therefore, the Government should announce as soon as possible that the uplift will be extended rather than waiting until nearer April when we will be approaching a cliff edge.”