Press Release: For once, missing the inflation target is a good thing

Commenting on today's fall in inflation to 1.2%, Sam Bowman said:

It’s usually a bad thing when the Bank of England misses its inflation target but today’s figures look like the exception. The fall appears to be due to supply side factors like cheaper fuel and food. On the demand side, inflation seems healthier and closer to being on target, and this is what counts from the macroeconomic point of view. All in all, good news and not something that should cause any panic.

What this does highlight is the absurdity of the government’s pensions triple lock. Pensions are now rising by 2.5%, more than double the 1.2% inflation rate. This would be unsustainable and unnecessary at the best of times, but at a time when tax revenues are worryingly weak this is totally profligate and unsustainable.

Old people have been spared most of the pain of austerity, perhaps for the obvious reason that the grey vote is so powerful, but throwing money at them like this is going totally overboard. As Britain’s population gets older, the demands of the triple lock will become increasingly difficult to meet, and it should be abandoned to help restore stability to Britain’s public finances.

Notes to editors:

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The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.