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Raising the UK’s state pension age (again)

by on December 1, 2016

Earlier this week the Guardian reported the prospect of a further rise in state pension age in the UK.  The former pensions minister, Steve Webb, claims that documents produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggest that a faster (“more aggressive”) timetable for raising state pension age (SPA) was being prepared. This could affect those currently aged under 55 and would bring a pension age of 70 into the official timetable for the first time for people currently aged between 22 and 30.

An official review is taking place into the future of the state pension. Last month the DWP asked the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) to look at projected life expectancy in future years.

The Guardian asked its readers for their comments on this possibility. Here are a selection of those views:

  • ‘It’s basically a huge tax increase nobody really cares about [because] it [only] effects them in future’
  • ‘Increased life expectancy does not mean all people getting on for 70 are fit enough for a full-time job’
  • ‘We must fight cuts and lobby for a higher state pension’ but ‘we should also do everything we can to free ourselves from reliance on the state pension by personal saving and investing’.
  • ‘Something has to give, and working a few more years is preferable to a cull.’
  • ‘Younger generations are going to be smashed, meanwhile today’s pensioners have retired early and get triple-locked pensions, yet STILL think they are somehow victims.’
  • ‘But I worry about being divided against the older part of the population, surely division is exactly what the Tories want.’
  • ‘It is truly a sad state of affairs to see how the rich, bankers and corporations have succeeded in deflecting the blame from their own wrongdoings and got the “proles” to fight amongst themselves.’

Broadly these illustrate themes that we have been covering on this blog since we started.  We see here references to the problem of differences in healthy life expectancy (often linked to socio-economic status and work history), the dangers of pitting one generation against another (and deflecting focus from those with more direct political responsibility for social inequalities), and the discourse of personal responsibility. This debate will run and run, and it looks likely that the ‘triple lock’ aspect of the state pension will also be examined as part of the review.

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