Liz Truss is ditching her pledge to increase state pensions in line with rising inflation as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt overhauls her leadership.
Downing Street has hinted that ministers may abandon their commitment to the triple lock as the new Chancellor brought in to save her ailing leadership attempts to plug a multi-billion-pound black hole.
On Tuesday, Mr Hunt told Cabinet members that they needed to find savings in their departmental budgets.
Ms Truss stated as recently as October 2 that state pensions would be increased in April by the greater of 2.5%, wages, or inflation.
“I’ve committed to the triple lock. Yes,” she said in a BBC interview.
But, after replacing Kwasi Kwarteng in the Treasury after their disastrous mini-budget, Downing Street backed down on this pledge.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are very aware of how many vulnerable pensioners there are and our priority ahead of this fiscal plan is we continue to protect the most vulnerable in society.
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are not making any commitments on individual policy areas at this point, but as I say the decisions will be made through the prism of what matters most to the most vulnerable.”
According to the official, the decision to review the pledge was a “mutual decision” by Ms Truss and Mr Hunt, who denied that the Prime Minister was pressured into it by her new Chancellor.
The spokesman reiterated the commitment to raise defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.
“Tory MPs have already imposed this year the biggest real-terms pension cut ever for Britain’s retirees, and their disastrous budget has them considering further cuts to pensioners’ incomes,” said Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth.
Mr Hunt did not rule out suspending the triple lock in the Commons on Monday, but he refused to make any commitments on “individual policy areas.”
Around 12.5 million people receiving the state pension could face real-term earnings cuts if their payments do not rise in line with inflation, which is currently about 10%.