PensionsJul 27 2016

Pensions Policy Institute demands state pension overhaul

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Pensions Policy Institute demands state pension overhaul

State pension access should be granted to all those who have worked for 45 years, thinktank the Pensions Policy Institute has argued.

Allowing people who have been in work for 45 years to access the state pension would make the system fairer for manual workers, the thinktank has argued.

In a paper sponsored by Age UK, the Pensions Policy Institute stated giving full state pension access to people with four and a half decades worth of national insurance contributions “could enable up to a quarter of a million people to enjoy a much-needed retirement after decades of physically demanding, manual work”.

Currently, the state pension age is due to increase to 67 for both men and women in 2028, meaning someone who started work aged 17 would have to work for 50 years before they were eligible for the state pension.

Under the PPI’s proposal, however, they would be able to retire aged 62.

John Adams, the PPI’s senior policy analyst and author of the paper, said: “With increasing life expectancies in the UK it is understandable that the government might wish to increase the state pension age, but care should be taken to recognise the impact on people who may be unable to continue in work, for example, as a result of health issues or caring responsibilities.”

He said manual workers and those with caring responsibilities would be hardest hit by the rising state pension age.

In addition to the 45-year rule, the report offered three other policies to protect the vulnerable against the negative impacts of the increasing retirement age.

One was de-linking pension credit from the state pension age, and freezing it at 65.

The report stated this would help those on low incomes and the unemployed.

The second was allowing people to access the state pension earlier if they agreed to take less.

The report cited the US and Canada as countries that allow this.

Finally, the report proposed allowing early access to particular individuals, such as those with disabilities or caring responsibilities.

Bernardo Hunte, a chartered financial planner with Aspect8, said the 45-year access rule was “in theory a good idea.”

However, he said in general he couldn’t see the state pension ever becoming “anything other than a safety net”.

He said educating people about taking charge of their own retirement planning was key, adding: “One should always regard that state pension as block one of your pension planning.”

Elliott Silk, head of employee benefits at Sanlam, said while the options suggested by the PPI paper were positive in principal enacting these measures is likely to be extremely complex.