The state pension age should rise to 75 by 2035. That’s the recommendation of the Centre for Social Justice. It’s a think tank founded by Iain Duncan Smith. It also proposes a range of measures to ‘support’ older workers.
Recommendations relating to the state pension age
This recommendation is the one I know you’ll be most interested in – for understandable reasons. I had hoped that the headlines in the papers at the weekend would be wrong, but they’re not. The report, entitled ‘Ageing Confidently’ (make of that what you will) has, as its final recommendation, this:
- The state pension age should rise to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035. This means that the state pension age would be 70 for those who are 70 on or after April 6th 2028. It would then rise again to reach 75 in 2035.
The current state pension age: Currently, the state pension age is 65 years and 5 months and is due to rise to 66 by October 2020. It is then scheduled to rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028. This would mean the state pension age will be between 66 and 67 for women and men born between April 1959 and 1961. It will be 67 for women and men born after April 5th 1961. The state pension age is due to rise again – to 68 between 2044 and 2046. However, there has been some discussion (which I outline later in the article) about bringing forward the rise to 68.
The Centre for Social Justice, which published the report, does say that the state pension age should only rise to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035 if its other recommendations are introduced. These relate to benefits and how people work. However, my view is that bringing forward the rise in state pension age so dramatically would cause huge financial and emotional stress to millions of women and men.
Although life expectancy has – generally – been rising, it’s not at all uniform across the country. In fact, the difference in life expectancy between those who live the longest and the rest, is widening. On top of that, since 2010, rises in life expectancy have stalled.
Women, especially those doing physically demanding or stressful work, and/or those who have health issues or who are caring for family members who are in poor health, could be particularly badly affected. And there’s very little mention of women or gender in the report.
It’s all very well encouraging people to work beyond what we’ve conventionally thought of as retirement age, but there has to be a proper pension for those who can’t work – because they’re not able – or who can’t get a job.
Current government plans for the state pension age
As things stand, the state pension age is due to rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046. However, the state pension age is due to be reviewed every few years, so that rise is likely to be brought forward anyway. The idea being that the government can increase it in line with changes in life expectancy (assuming life expectancy continues to rise).
A report published in 2017, written by Sir John Cridland, recommended that the state pension age should rise to 68 between 2037 and 2039. However, the report from the Centre for Policy Justice, would bring that rise forward much more.
Incidentally, the Cridland report also recommended that people should be given at least ten years’ notice of any change in the state pension age. He also recommended that the state pension age shouldn’t rise by more than one year in any ten year period.
SAVVY TIP: The Cridland Report recommended some similar measures to this report around workplace changes (see below). You can read more about the Cridland Report in my article.
As well as the major recommendation on the state pension age, the report from the Centre for Social Justice made a number of other recommendations around the workplace and relating to benefits. I thought it was only fair to include them. They are:
- All employees should be able to ask for flexible working. Currently you can only do this if you’ve worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks.
- There should be a campaign to raise awareness of the Access to Work scheme. This scheme is designed to provide up to £60,000 a year in help for people who are disabled or ill, so they can work. It can cover things like travel to work and to pay for equipment that their employer provides.
- Employees should introduce mid-life MOTs to help people who want to continue to work to do so. A mid-life MOT has been piloted by several employers, but so far it’s been aimed more at helping people prepare for retirement.
Out of work benefits recommendations
There were also two specific recommendations relating to benefits and how people aged 50 or over access them.
- People aged 55 plus should be a priority group to get help from Job Centre Plus and the Work and Health programme. This programme helps people who’ve been out of work for a long time due to illness.
- People aged 50 or over who are out of work should get £500 paid into a ‘personal learning account’, which is a digital savings account used to pay for adult learning.
Medical/social care recommendations
The report also said that GPs and employers should do more to help working people when they are ill. Specifically, it says:
- GPs should be better trained in occupational health.
- Employers should make mental health first aid training available to managers.
You can read the full ‘Ageing Confidently’ report on the Centre for Social Justice’s website
This is only a recommendation from a think tank. It’s not a government recommendation. It’s not a report that’s been commissioned by the government either. However, that’s not to say it won’t catch the eye of someone in the government (current or future) who thinks it’s a good idea.
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