State pension age to increase seven years earlier than planned
Those born between 1970 and 1978 will have to wait an extra year, until they are 68, to claim their state pension, the government has announced.
The work and pensions secretary, David Gauke, said he would implement the findings of a review by the former CBI director general John Cridland, published in March, which recommended accelerating the planned increase in the pension age, to prevent the costs of the state pension becoming unsustainable.
That will mean the state pension age increasing from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039 – seven years earlier than previously planned – to reflect increasing longevity.
Gauke said implementing the proposals would create “fairness across the generations, and the certainty which people need to plan for old age”, and insisted he wanted Britain to be “the best country in the world to grow old”.
He said failing to act “would be irresponsible and place an extremely unfair burden on younger generations”.
But Labour condemned the plans, with the shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams, describing them as “anything but fair”, and arguing that many pensioners faced a “toxic cocktail” of ill health long before they reached 68.
Labour said in its manifesto it would not implement the Cridland proposals, and would instead consult on varying retirement ages. But Gauke said that approach was “reckless, short-sighted and irresponsible”.
The government committed in 2013 to continue increasing the state pension age in line with life expectancy, to prevent the costs swallowing up a growing share of public spending.
Gauke said the government was “aiming at the proportion of life spent in receipt of state pension to be 32%”. And he added that the government would be carrying out a further review before legislating to implement the plans.
Given the parliamentary arithmetic, the government is likely to have to win the support of the Democratic Unionist party to implement the proposals.
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, expressed disappointment that Gauke had not taken the opportunity to shift the government’s policy for the so-called Waspi women – those born in the 1950s who have seen their pension age rise faster than expected.