Think tank proposal
State pension age may rise to 75 ‘to allow older people to remain in work’
Workers may work longer before claiming the state pension
The state pension age could be raised to 75 in response to a more active and able older population.
Conservative think tank, the Centre for Social Justice proposes the change over the next 16 years to help boost the UK economy.
The pension age is already set to increase to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2016. In 2017 the government announced plans to increase the state pension age to 68 between 2037 and 2039. These latest proposals would see it extended to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035.
Raising the state pension age is needed, it is argued, as the pensions bill has swollen from £17 billion in 1989 to £92bn, making up £4 of every £10 of welfare spending.
The CSJ, co-founded by former Conservative leader and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, says there is evidence that the UK is “not responding to the needs and potential” of an ageing workforce, with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50 to 64 seen as “economically inactive”.
It recommends increased access to flexible working and training opportunities.
In its report, Ageing Confidently: Supporting an ageing workforce, the think tank states: “Removing barriers for older people to remain in work has the potential to contribute greatly to the health of individuals and the affordability of public services.
“Therefore, this paper argues for significant improvements in the support for older workers.
“This includes improved healthcare support, increased access to flexible working, better opportunities for training, an employer-led mid-life MOT and the implementation of an ‘Age Confident’ scheme.
“As we prepare for the future, we must prioritise increasing the opportunity to work for this demographic to reduce involuntary worklessness.
“For the vulnerable and marginalised, a job offers the first step away from state dependence, social marginalisation and personal destitution.
“In addition, provided that this support is in place, we propose an increase in the state pension age to 75 by 2035.
“While this might seem contrary to a long-standing compassionate attitude to an older generation that have paid their way in the world and deserve to be looked after, we do not believe it should be.
“Working longer has the potential to improve health and wellbeing, increase retirement savings and ensure the full functioning of public services for all.”
CSJ chief executive Andy Cook said: “Right now, we are not doing enough to help older people stay in work and the state pension age doesn’t even closely reflect healthy working life expectancy.
“By increasing the state pension age, we can help people stay in gainful and life-enhancing employment while also making a sound long-term financial decision.”
Ex-pensions minister Ros Altmann opposes the changes which she described as shocking.
“Major changes in pension attitudes required due to big life expectancy differentials. Using age as a strict cut off is not good policy.”