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“Given that that manifesto committed to the Triple Lock, why can he not give pensioners the reassurance that they deserve?”

Mr Stride skirted around the question but did not rule out that the benefits could be means-tested.

Replying to Mr Ashworth, Mr Stride said: “The right hon gentleman is inviting me, in a whole host of areas, to break with what has been a very long-standing and quite correct convention that ministers simply do not provide a running commentary about what may or may not be in a major fiscal event.

“However, he has my personal assurance that when and as it is appropriate to pass him information of that kind, he will be the first to know.”

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