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    From Ros Altmann:economist and pensions,
    investment and retirement policy expert

  • pensionsandsavings.com

    Increasing State Pension Age to 75 would be an outrage

    Increasing State Pension Age to 75 would be an outrage

    • Increasing State Pension Age to 70 and then 75 would be wrong.
    • Strict chronological age cut-off ignores the 19-year gap in healthy life expectancy across UK. 
    • Saving public money is all well and good, but not by penalising the poorest and most vulnerable.
    • Working longer can be good for health and wealth but it should be a choice, not forced labour.
    • More flexibility is needed for earlier pensions for people in poor health and unpaid carers.
    • UK already has the lowest state pension in the developed world so how can it be unaffordable?

    The Centre For Social Justice has just released an astonishing policy paper, proposing to increase the State Pension Age dramatically – to 70 by 2028 and then to 75 a few years later. Apart from the fact that we are already seeing problems as women’s State Pension Age has risen sharply, and further increases for men and women are already underway, these proposals would create significant social ‘injustice’.

    Forcing everyone to wait longer for State Pension on basis of average life expectancy is unjust: Stark pension age rises would create significant hardship for many Britons. Such misguided policy proposals suggest little understanding of the role and impact of State Pensions and the differentials within our society.

    Variation in healthy life expectancy across the country is 19 years: Those who have had heavy manual labour careers, the less well-off or people with poor health might never receive their State Pension, even though they contributed National Insurance for decades. Current State Pension policy fails to recognise that those in the most deprived areas tend to die younger and on average spend 19 more years in poor health in old age than people in the least deprived parts of the country. Raising the pension age further still, will create even greater injustice, causing unwarranted hardship for the most vulnerable older people.

    It is rare that I see a proposal which is so damaging in terms of both policy and politics: This flawed policy thinking needs to be dismissed immediately, before it has any chance of being adopted by politicians looking for seemingly easy benefits. In any case, such proposals would be politically disastrous. Indeed, I believe, they would have damaging effects similar to the dreadful Manifesto proposals for social care reform which helped the Government lose its majority at the 2017 General Election.

    Yes, working longer can be beneficial for many people’s health and wellbeing, but not all: A significant minority of the population, many of whom have had hard physical manual labour careers, are simply not well enough to carry on. And those who leave work to care for loved ones should not be expected to wait so many more years. Either they, or those who need their care, will suffer. Policy should be about encouraging longer working life, not callously forcing it on people who cannot cope.

    Yes, keeping more older people in work can boost the economy and cut public spending, but it should be their choice: Official estimates suggest that an increase of just one year in the average age at which older people retire would add 1% to National Output (GDP). And increasing the State Pension Age would save significant sums in benefit spending as the population ages. But just forcing people to wait longer for their pension, regardless of their circumstances, is not a socially equitable welfare policy, nor does it accord with the principles of a basic State Pension to offer support to people who have paid contributions for their working life. Boosting growth and cutting spending on the backs of would-be pensioners is wrong. Indeed, major State Pension Reform in 2016 was supposed to have made State Pensions affordable for the long-term.

    More than 1 million over-50s want to work but can’t find a job – let’s help them first: Age discrimination is still embedded in the labour market and currently over 1 million people below state pension age cannot find a job. Increasing support for these citizens – with retraining programmes and employer incentives – should be the first priority. Only when work is readily available to all who want it before reaching current state pension ages, could further State Pension Age rises be considered. Leaving more people languishing on ‘in-work’ benefits, when they have no prospect of finding the work they need, or are being forced to carry on when they are not fit to do so, denies them the dignity and choice they deserve. Forcing people to work till they drop is not the mark of a civilised society – there must be room for choice.

    We need to get away from the idea that there is one ‘magic age’ beyond which people won’t be expected to work: Chronological age is not a sufficient defining characteristic for State Pension. Other factors should be used to determine eligibility, incorporating flexibility for individual differences in the qualification criteria.

    For example, cost could be controlled by number of years of contributions to National Insurance: To qualify for a full State Pension requires just 35 years of National Insurance. This is nowhere near a full working life. Many years of contributions seem to be wasted. Perhaps full State Pension should only paid to those with, say, 50 years on their record. And people should be able to start drawing a reduced pension on health grounds or to recognise unpaid caring roles. Allowing ongoing increases in State Pension for extra National Insurance years with no upper limit could also be considered, to help overcome the stark minimum age cut-off. Or perhaps as soon as someone has 50 years NI, they are entitled to a State Pension (regardless of chronological age), so those who started work earliest (usually the lower-paid) can retire earlier too, while those moving to the UK later in life would also get less.

    UK State Pension is lowest in developed world and discriminates on grounds of age and health: Our State Pension is not generous, it offers only basic minimum support. Indeed the OECD shows the UK pays the lowest of all OECD countries. Are we seriously suggested this country cannot afford this, even after reforms in 2016 that were said to make it sustainable. Making people wait longer and longer before they can receive any pension, compounds the current injustices whereby the system discriminates against those who have not attained a required age and can no longer work.

    Flexibility in State Pension is needed for those in poorest health: Currently, anyone healthy and wealthy enough to wait longer can achieve a higher state pension by delaying taking it. But those who are genuinely too ill to work cannot get a penny of their pension until they reach the constantly-rising minimum age. A more sensitive approach would be to ensure that people’s health, working life and caring responsibilities are taken into account and allow them access to State Pension from an earlier age.

    Raising State Pension Age also removes eligibility to other benefits: State pension age is a passport to other benefits, so increasing the age forces older people to wait longer for those too. Pension Credit, needed by the poorest pensioners, was paid from age 60 until recently, but the minimum age is now approaching 66, even though many over-60s are genuinely unable to work. They are forced onto Universal Credit, requiring them to undergo work assessment tests and apply for work, even if they cannot manage. Out of work benefits are much less generous than state pension, and are designed to encourage people into work. Once they are in the retirement age zone, however, this is more like forced labour than social support.

    Mismanagement of increases to Women’s State Pension Age shows how damaging it can be to keep raising pension ages: The DWP is particularly poor at communicating major changes in pension policy. This created enormous hardship for many women, who were never informed that they would not receive their State Pension at age 60. The ‘WASPI’ and ‘BackTo60’ campaigns highlight this. Such changes impact people’s lives and constant tinkering is damaging. Ideally, nobody should have an expectation of any specific age at which they stop work altogether. Just running pensions policy on the basis of averages is not appropriate in today’s Britain. Planning for part-time work and ongoing retraining through life will be important to help people work longer, but the inflexibility of a fixed pension age fails to cater for individual differences.

    (The CSJ Report is here: https://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/library/ageing-confidently-supporting-an-ageing-workforce )


    36 thoughts on “Increasing State Pension Age to 75 would be an outrage

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on this matter I’m on a salary of just over £14,000 and have been trying to save as much as I can for Retirement at age 67. When I read about this I firstly cried for the best part of 2 days and I am now extremely angry. I was really pleased to read your thoughts and you are the first person who is putting into words the thoughts of the Country. Thanks so much for publicising this and being vocal in a time when others bury their heads in the sand.

      1. I have worked all my life from the age of 15 and have to retire at the age of 66, I work for a council and from my experience, they have restructured within and in those restructured they get rid of old staff and replace with young staff. To get a job in your 60s is much more difficult so what do the propose with these situations

    2. Where l used to work the trade unions asked the company, what is the effect on average of company pensioners life expectancy when early retirement is taken? The company would never supply the answer.
      Boeing in the US did supply figures which broadly showed for each year retirement taken before age 65 equated to a year longer life than those who retired at 65.

    3. I am 64 and retired from my part time job at 60 due to significant health problems and my husband who’s 63 – is still working and contributing – since he was 16 and both of us have to wait until we’re 66 to get our state pension. I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts and comments. We are saving as much as we can on his minimum wage job so that he can possibly retire earlier – but it’s a uphill struggle. No allowances have been made for workers having to retire due to ill health – It’s disgraceful! Work till you drop was supposed to stop when the welfare system was introduced – but not a good deal of thought seems to have gone into how to manage the future state pension requirements – other than being blinkered turning a blind eye and deaf ear to common sense and pulling the rug out from under the feet of a group of older workers who have contributed for years – forced to carry on working and still contributing. It stinks of backtracking to Victorian standards. What’s the point of a retirement if you’re too old and ‘cream crackered’ to enjoy it!

    4. I’m 60 yrs and looking forward to 2025 when I can retire , if iv got money all good and well if not I’ll live on what I get as in a state pension , iv worked in the building and shipbuilding trades all my days , and believe me I’m ready to retire now if I could. My thoughts on this is if somebody wants to work on then happy days maybe there job suits working on, but dont take this out on everybody that want to retire at 66 by raising the state pension age to god knows when. The government wants you to work till you drop

    5. I am 62 in part time work live alone and have been in Ill health for 20 years. I can only just manage to keep the job that I have. Have always worked from 15 years old on low paid wages. I want and need to retire. If this job that I have goes, what then?

    6. What idiot came up with this . I am now 73 worked 36 year in building trade I don’t know of any one who has not got problems of some sort and if they are lucky enough to get to retirement age before the die they have some problem that will Ned help from NHS. And put further costs on NHS
      Can you see a man of 75 mixing cement climbing scaffolding .i has to be a idiot who sit behind a desk who come up with this idea
      Many men I know who want health treatment say already they treat us as over the hill

    7. I cant believe am reading this there are people out there that have work most of there lifes and it comes time for them to retire and the age get put up not only that then there no jobs for the family man

    8. Compare these pension issues with the plight of British frozen pensioners who typically at the age of 82 are receiving the same non indexed pension at the age of 65.
      All as a result of British government’s breach of National Insurance.contract.

    9. Ageism is ripe throught the world of professional employment.This despite there being no substitute for experience.
      Professional engineering opportunities often unfairly bias against mature candidates, by non engineering savvy immature expert agency selection staff bound by selection software.

    10. it’s cheaper to keep people on unemployment than pay a pension, a pension that as been worked for for 40 years plus.
      universal credit is means tested so thousands of people will not even get that if they have any income from any where, a spouse still working for instance.
      it’s a disgrace that one of the richest countrys in the world scam money from its elderly and informed, our pensions are ridiculously low any way. we send billions abroad to help those in poverty while there governments send rockets to the moon and Mars but cannot feed there own people. totally unacceptable.

    11. am 60 in march and can’t work due to illness but putting pension up is ridiculous as most people worked all there life and putting it up to 75 is ridiculous and then takes jobs away from younger generation like families or school leavers so there be more unemployed then so don’t put pension up as not fair on people who want to retire

    12. Nobody has mentioned our so called powers that be .our thinktanks …they are the very same people who are retiring at 55 wacking big pay off and a hefty pension all at our expense
      My question is why do they retire early and we are expected to work until we drop ?????

    13. This is just typical of these think tanks, they are not in touch with the actual reality of proposing such stupid ideas. Industries are already wanting to introduce more automation so as some comments have already been made where are the jobs going to come from. What needs to happen is a reform of how the state pension is funded from the wealthy individuals and industries that benefit greatly from this downturn in labour. Besides who is going to be willing to employ 65 to 75 year olds that’s if they are capable.

    14. Hi
      I completely agree with what you have said in your article and I am one of those women that is still working. I did have 3 cleaning jobs working 25 hours a week until June as it was getting more and more difficult for me with my osteoarthritis in my neck and shoulders and now my back and hands, I had to give up 2 jobs and now work 10 hours a week at a SEN school near where I live. I like working but I’m finding it more difficult from one year to the next. I have just turned 63 and I feel like I’m living to work. What’s more soul destroying apart from my health is that not being able to afford anything, on a wage of £395 per month after paying bills eg. £50 towards rent (the rest housing benefit pays) even though I get a deduction on council tax cause I’m single and on a low wage I still have to find £20 per month to pay council tax then there’s your normal household bills which I struggle to pay. I have tried everything to get help like the warm home discount and apparently though I’m on a low wage under £16.000 per annum and receive housing benefit (cause I’m in supported housing ie sheltered accomadation) as opposed to universal credit paying a big part of my rent, I don’t qualify because you have to have 2 catagorises and I only have the one which is my low wage and housing benefit doesn’t count. I have been for a health assessment with PIP last year in the summer reference my arthritis and mental health problems (I have a nervous disposition where my hands and head shake most of the time which hinders me from the simplest thing like drinking a full mug of tea having to eat my meals withe a spoon, not having the strength and the cramps I get in my hands just lifting a pan of boiled potatoes etc. So with all that I didn’t get any points so ultimately I was denied PIP apparently I look well enough despite the pain I have and loss of sleep through it and though the assesor said my right hand is weaker so to them and according to the accessor I wasn’t shaking at all when I felt my body shaking and I mentioned I can feel my head shaking, the person that went with me for moral support said it’s unbelievable that my whole body was shaking and yet they declined it and said I’m not entitled to it. I have appealed to the court but it seems it’s still sitting there and the court should have received something from DWP by 27/11/19 but according to the tracking DWP still hasn’t sent anything to the court. I am trying to help myself especially my mental health by stIill going to work. I dread to think how I would stand financially should my health get worse. I haven’t always worked in this country though I’m British but I lived and worked in Germany so I haven’t paid in 35 years of NI. Hopefully I’ll be a little better off when I’m 65 as I will receive my German pension. In saying all this in a sense I’m one of the lucky ones I have got a roof over my head not like some women of my age that have to sleep in cars. I just wish the government would just see that that like myself men and women that have health issues through wear and tare of hard work most of our lives are not able to work much longer!!

    15. Yes it’s totally wrong the people who want to implement these changes have never really done a hard day’s work in there lives. I have worked in the building and construction industry since I was fifteen I ruptured a disc in my lower back and now I go to work everyday wearing a back brace. Hoping to get a pension soon but each year they try to raise the retirement age. You should be able to retire at a age where you can still have some remaining quality of life.

    16. UK needs to stop this happening the right time to retire is 60 where you can enjoy life most old people have illness.

      They need to put the younger people to work instead of letting them roam the streets causing trouble.

    17. I’m 64 working part time I have diabetes high blood pressure suffering with anxiety take 9 tablets a day struggling to keep working to pay my Bill’s worked all my life dont think I’ll make 66 it’s all wrong nobody seems bothered.

    18. lesson be learned, get a non-physical job on. DAYS ,work flexi-hours, not more than 35 hours a week, plenty of holidays, with a good defined pension, have a look round where these jobs exist, they do but not for people from poorer areas….

    19. Worked from 13yrs old as Saturday girl. Full time work at 16yrs and worked all my life with short intervals when having my children. Should have been able to retire at 60 but I am one of the unlucky WASPI women. I had to leave work at 62 to care for my husband so had to sell my home as we still owed mortgage (Due to being advised to have an endowment mortgage earlier in life). I paid full amount of stamps to receive full pension years ago but cannot get it and I have to rely on my husbands pension, pension credit etc. I will not receive a full pension now because I have no stamps paid for the extra years because I look after my husband so am not working. My only income is a small private pension of under £50 per week.

    20. We need to have a french style national strike to restore previous retirement ages,the people who set these unrealistic targets have no idea how manual work affects peoples health and ability to carry on working after 65 let alone any older.They need to picture their parents or themselves at 70 years old climbing a scaffold,lifting heavy items or other manual labour work,not everyone has a white collar job.

    21. 40 years for a full pension. 30 years for 75%.
      20 years for 50%.Encouraging work.
      Why should people who don’t work get credits which top up there pension. When I say don’t work I do not mean people who are not able though genuine health problems. I appreciate some people genuinely can’t find a job. The longer older people work could cause younger generations to not get a job and fall into crime. Vicious circle.

    22. Are you lot serious? I am 56 and may retire soon. I didn’t have well paid jobs and often worked outside freezing cold and wet. But I never trusted the government or pension schemes and instead saved every spare penny foregoing fancy holidays and decent cars. You might now call me rich. This is due to being very careful and prudent. You can never rely on anyone y. Especially HMG. Some people are genuinely hard done by. But s very large portion have an entitlement culture. You have to take some responsibility yourself.

    23. I think it’s terrible , the MPs who will agree to this probably have private pensions and huge savings on the wages they awarded themselves.
      They don’t live in the real world none of them all I can say is shame on them .
      I was lucky that I had a house to sell and was able to buy something cash and have a bit over to top up my very small work pension, but it came at a cost I now live two hours from my family . But after recovering from breast cancer I could no longer do my job that I had been doing for sixteen years , but I still have two years before I get my old age pension . The thought of having to work to 75 is a nightmare.

    24. Whilst I broadly agree, I don’t like the idea people should pay NI contributions for 50 years. I don’t think that is realistic. My partner came here from South Africa in 1992, he is a British citizen, (his Dad is also British) but he grew up there, and he will have to work to 2028 to get a full pension here. As the construction industry seems to have collapsed he is struggling to find work already at age 55 and has not had a proper job for 3 years. I have been main breadwinner since then and I am not sure how we have made it this far on one income without having to sell the house. I suspect my pension, such as it is, will have to support both of us.

    25. I agree with all of the above. It should be a choice to work on after 65, let alone older. Where will the jobs be for youngstets if people have to work to 75 ? There are few enough jobs as it is. Do they really expect manual labourers, teachers, nurses , police, ambulance personnel to be really fit and able to do these jobs effectively ?
      My real question is why didn’t successive governments take heed of the cencus readings and make provision for an increase in the aging population. They should have invested our money more efficiently.

    26. I think this is not acceptable. Your supposed to enjoy your golden years. Not die trying. Besides where does all that money go to if no one claims it. Do companies ride the stock market with it or invest for their personal gains. How about we bring down the age qualifications and let the company’s invest in us for a change. There the one’s reaping our labor. While they get rich .

    27. Whoever came up with that idea ought to try working till they’re 75 for 8/9 hrs a day themselves! It’s truly criminal!!
      I have an idea. How about we let EVERYONE retire at 60, including all those public sector workers who retire at 50 or 55 and then walk in through the back door and get another government job the week after, thus not only robbing a younger person of a job, but making those of us who are unfortunate enough to have to work until we’re 67/70/75, look like idiots! It’s about time things were fair for everyone in this country, not just the rich, the public sector workers and those who have scrounged off the system all their lives, i.e. those we are all paying (through our taxes) to live in a state of permanent ‘retirement’ for most of their lives!!
      Shame on the people who make these decisions!!!

    28. The pension age should never have been increased {& penalise so many in the process} it should have been lowered for all to the age of 60, there are enough people out ther to fill the gap left by retirees who need a job.

    29. I am one of the WASPI ladies, who will have had to wait almost six years more for my state pension. I have got a good suggestion, would love to hear your thoughts. All these celebrity’s out there, TV presenters, actors, footballers, sports personalities and anyone else on that level of income. I think that although they have paid into the system, they should not receive a state pension, do they need it NO. That way maybe, people who have had to give up work early for whatever the reason, can then claim their pension earlier. Also giving other people the option of either retiring at 65, or working longer. It would be their choice.

    30. Why doesn’t the government stop siphoning funds out of the national health fund £179 million so far. Then we can all have a decent pension I am 61 cant retire till 66 will have paid in 50 years contributions have copd and osteoarthritis yet will need to work till I drop because they took the funds and used to bail out banks. Disgusted with the whole system.

    31. For help with your PIP appeal try the Citizens advice in your area. They also may have a specialist benefits service.

    32. People should not be forced to work longer than 65/66.
      All they will be doing is paying in to a government saving scheme that they may never receive. Let them have s chance at enjoying some years if retirement at least.

    33. What about all the layabouts on benifits why not get them into work and let the 55 plus retire this would save the goverment a substancle amount of money plus give the younger generation the chance to work surely a weekly state pension would be a lower payment to find than benifits every week.

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