To govern is to choose.
As the Government prepares to end the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift, it faces another spending choice on whether to maintain the triple lock on pensions — its commitment to uprate the basic and state pension by earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
This year, as a result of increases in wages, this could rise by eight per cent, at a cost to the Exchequer of £3 billion.
The triple lock, introduced by the coalition government in 2010, remains a manifesto commitment for a Tory Party that got roughly one-third of its vote in the last election from the retired. Indeed, Theresa May lost a majority in part because of her policy on how to pay for social care.
As our population continues to age, questions around how we fund pensions, health and social care will only grow more urgent.
The Government’s announcement on the triple lock will be a test of whether it is prepared to take hard decisions or if it will continue its thus-far successful electoral strategy of privileging the old over the young.