April 26, 2017 / 11:50 AM / 3 years ago

May says pensioner incomes will rise, avoids hard commitment

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Brackla community centre, in Bridgend Wales, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that old age pension payments would continue to rise if her party wins a June 8 election, but avoided renewing a pledge made by her predecessor that mandates a minimum 2.5 percent annual rise.

Since June 2010, Britain’s state pension has risen by whichever is highest of consumer price inflation, average earnings growth or 2.5 percent - a so-called ‘triple lock’ designed to court older Britons who typically vote in large numbers at general elections.

“I am clear that under a Conservative government pensioner incomes would continue to increase,” May told parliament, when asked if she would recommit to the triple lock. She did not specify by how much she planned to increase them.

May’s finance minister Philip Hammond last week said the issue of pensioner poverty has been fixed, heightening speculation that the triple-lock policy could be ditched in the upcoming manifesto.

The current policy was criticised by a cross-party committee of lawmakers who said it was “inherently unsustainable” and unfair on younger generations.

Reporting by William James, editing by David Milliken

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