A further review to reconsider plans to raise the state pension age to 68 will take place, the Government has announced. Here is a look at what this means for people:
– What has been announced?
The Government plans to have a further review within two years of the next Parliament to reconsider plans for the state pension age to rise to 68.
It said this will give it time to take into account evidence which is not yet available on the long-term impact of recent challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic and global inflationary pressures.
These events bring a level of uncertainty in relation to data on life expectancy, labour markets and the public finances.
The state pension age will rise to 67 by the end of 2028, the Government has confirmed.
– What is the history of the UK state pension age?
The state pension age is regularly kept under review. It has been increasing over the years and when someone will reach it depends on when they were born.
The state pension age for women started rising from 60 in 2010, reaching parity with the male state pension age of 65 in 2018.
The state pension age for men and women then increased to 66 and will rise to 67 by 2028.
The state pension age had been due to rise due to 68 from 2044, but previous reports had suggested ministers were considering bringing that forward to the 2030s.
– Why has the state pension age been increasing?
Governments over the years have needed to balance the needs of an ageing population with those of the working population supporting them.
There were 280 pensioners for every 1,000 people of working age in 2020. This will reach levels never seen before by 2070, where the ratio is projected to be 393 pensioners per 1,000 people of working age, the Government has said.
Under the triple-lock, which is normally used to uprate state pensions, the state pension will jump by 10.1% annually in April, in line with the rising cost of living.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has also said that significant long-term challenges are coming from the ageing population.
It suggested that the cost to the Exchequer of not introducing a rise in the state pension age from 67 to 68 from the late 2030s could be around £8 billion to £9 billion per year.
– What have the arguments been against further rises in the state pension age?
While people have generally been living for longer, average life expectancies can vary hugely in different parts of the UK. People are often more likely to live for longer in affluent areas.
Someone’s ability to work into later life in a particular job may depend on what sector they work in and what their job entails, for example whether it involves manual work or being office-based.
There has also been criticism that the pace of some increases in the state pension age has made it harder for people to make financial arrangements for their retirement.
According to the IFS, income poverty rates among 65-year-olds more than doubled when the state pension age increased from 65 to 66.
Since a previous 2017 state pension age review was undertaken, the rate of increase in life expectancy has slowed.
Plans to reform pensions have also been controversial in other countries, with people taking to the streets to protest in Paris and in Prague.
– Do I have to retire when I reach state pension age?
No, you can keep working if you want or have to.
– How can I check my state pension age?
You can check online at gov.uk/state-pension-age.
– How could people’s retirement patterns change in the future?
The pension freedoms have already given more people much more flexibility over how they use their workplace pension pots from the age of 55, making retirements more fluid rather than the traditional “start, stop” to people’s working lives.
There has been a trend towards some people taking “phased” retirements, where they gradually reduce their working hours over time, rather than suddenly stopping work.
Some people may also want to build specific savings pots that they can use in their 60s to bridge the gap between the age at which they would like to retire and their state pension age.