State Pension 

PLSA says leave state pension age alone

PLSA says leave state pension age alone

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has urged the government to make no further changes to the state pension age.

In a submission to the Independent Review of the State Pension, chaired by John Cridland, the association pointed out that the state pension age is set to reach 68 between 2044 and 2046.

No other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country has a state pension age that high, the industry body stated, adding that lifting it even further would cause "unacceptable detriment".

This "detriment" would be felt by two groups, the submission argued: those with lower-than-average life expectancy who might receive little or no state pension; and those who will struggle to keep working due to poor health.

In its submission, the PLSA also recommended the government drop the "triple lock" on annual pension increases - which links increases to the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent - and replace it with a link to earnings.

This, the industry body stated, would ensure the state pension maintains its current value of around 30 per cent of average earnings.  

Graham Vidler, the PLSA's director of external affairs, said these two reforms would represent "the fairest approach for current and future generations of pensioners."

“A state pension maintained at 30 per cent of average earnings can provide a strong basis for future retirement incomes," he said. 

"Removing the triple lock can keep it affordable without the need to increase state pension age still further to the detriment of people with poorer health."

Mr Vidler also opposed suggestions - put forward by a number of pension experts including former pensions minister Ros Altmann and Steve Bee - that pensioners be allowed flexible access to their state pension.

“We also believe proposals for a variable pension age, while attractive in tackling socio-economic differences, would sacrifice the simplicity and clarity of the current system," he said.

In October, Baroness Altmann argued the state pension age should not be lifted beyond 68, and argued for flexible access for people who could not afford to wait until then.

Yesterday (2 January), she restated this point on Twitter, writing: "Fixed chronological state pension age not optimal in UK with huge variation in working life and longevity. Not just increasing start age."

Later she added: "UK already has differential ages, but only for those healthy or wealthy enough to wait."

In the review's interim report, released in October, Mr Cridland floated the possibility of introducing a flexible state pension age. 

However, in November he appeared to be moving away from this idea, saying it would be "horrendously complicated" to administer

In its submission, Hargreaves Lansdown urged the two governmental departments responsible for pensions - HM Treasury and the Department for Work & Pensions - to work more closely, arguing that up to now their respective pensions policies had been "fundamentally opposed". 

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