The state pension age should rise to 75 by 2035, a think tank has recommended.
The Centre for Social Justice, founded by Iain Duncan Smith, has suggested that the state pension age needs to increase to 75 in fifteen years time, and has proposed a range of measures to ‘support’ older workers.
The report, entitled ‘Ageing Confidently’ 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 reach the age of 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 and is due to rise from 65 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 5 April 1961. The state pension age is due to rise again – to 68 between 2044 and 2046. However, there has been some discussion 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, forward the rise in state pension age so dramatically could 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.
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 among the worst affected.
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.
Current government plans for change
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. 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. This would bring forward the planned rise in state pension age to 68. However, the report from the Centre for Policy Justice, would bring that rise forward much sooner.
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.
As well as the major recommendation on the state pension age, the report made a number of other recommendations around the workplace and relating to benefits.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.
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 JobCentre 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.
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 here.