Are UK pensions indexed with inflation?

Are UK pensions indexed with inflation?

The basic State Pension

You can claim the basic State Pension if you are:

A man born before 6 April 1951

A Women born before 6 April 1953

To be eligible for the basic State Pension you must have paid or been credited with National Insurance Contributions.

The most you can currently claim is £129.20

The UK state pension increases each tax-year based on which is the highest of the following

  • Earnings – the average percentage growth in wages (GB)
  • Prices – the percentage growth in prices in the UK as measured by Consumer Prices Index CPI
  • 5%

in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to allow retirees’ purchasing power to remain the same each year.


Often dubbed ‘gold plated’ pensions, defined benefit pensions pay out a continuous income for life. Assuming the continued security of the scheme, the pension will pay an income to a member for as long as they live.

Defined benefit pension schemes are designed to increase their payments to members each year using economic indicators such as RPI and CPI. Most private-sector pension schemes have a ‘cap’ on the pension increases at around 5% per annum.

Increases depend on

The rules of your scheme

The period of service it relates to

whether part of your pension is in respect of contracting out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme. This is called a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP)

Each tax year, your scheme must increase your pension (above your GMP)

any pension built up after 6 April 1997 is increased in line with the consumer prices index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is lower

any pension built up after 6 April 2005 is increased in line with the consumer prices index (CPI) or 2.5%, whichever is lower.

However, your scheme does not have to increase any part of your income built up from savings made before 6 April 1997, except for the GMP.


These are the minimum increases that your scheme has to pay, by law. Your scheme may increase your pension above these levels. These additional increases may be set out in the scheme rules or paid on a discretionary basis. Where it is the latter, the scheme has no obligation to continue to apply the increases.

Source: The Pensions Advisory Service

Defined Contribution

A defined contribution (DC) pension is distinctly different from a defined benefit pension. With a DC scheme, the employer and employee build a pension pot that is invested within a scheme. The pot is designed to be drawn down by members in retirement. DC schemes can run out of money, meaning members cannot depend on them indefinitely in retirement.

The pot’s longevity depends on

  1. The amount invested
  2. The underlying investment performance
  3. The amount drawn down from the pot

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