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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

UK government urged to raise state pension age to 75

The UK’s state pension age is unsustainable and should be raised to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think tank has recommended.

Dramatic hike in the state pension age ©iStock

In a new report, the CSJ said that Britain is not responding well to the needs of an ageing workforce, and that the retirement age no longer reflects life expectancies.

It warned that the ratio between older and younger workers is increasingly skewed towards the over-65s, and that the economy will suffer without more jobs for the elderly.

The government plans to increase the state pension age to 68 by 2046, but raising it to 75 by 2035 will ensure the sustainability of the system for the next 20 years, the CSJ said.

“The state pension is an important benefit. If we expect this to continue along with other public services, a sustainable state pension age must be introduced,” the report states.

“Accelerating the increase to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2035 will ensure that the old age dependency ratio (OADR) remains in the sustainable range over the next 20 years."

Headed by former Conservative leader and ex-secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan-Smith, the CSJ made several additional suggestions to address an ageing workforce.

These include enhanced healthcare support through improvements in occupational health, training in mental health first aid, and further support for the over-55s.

The think tank said there should also be increased access to flexible working and training opportunities, along with more publicity of the Access to Work scheme for disabled people.

The initiation of an ‘Age Confident’ scheme that includes guidance regarding workplace flexibility, workplace adjustments, age discrimination, training and ‘mid-life MOTs’ are also suggested.

“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," the report states.

"We must prioritise increasing the opportunity to work for this demographic to reduce involuntary worklessness. A job offers the first step away from state dependence, social marginalisation and personal destitution.”

However, insurance firm Aegon said that raising the state pension age to 75 would come as a "double blow" if this was combined with an increase to the minimum age for accessing private pensions.

"Just as people need lengthy advanced notice of any increase in state pension age, it’s vital that they also know if there is any plan to increase the minimum age for accessing private pensions," said Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron.

"We would like the government to confirm that they have no plans to increase the age 55 access point and that any future increase would only be made with a minimum of 10 years notice.”

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