Public consultation on overhaul of state pension system

The government has launched a consultation which runs until the end of the year seeking the public and representative bodies’ views on the state pension system going forward, particularly changes to the state pension age

John Cridland, who was appointed as the government’s independent reviewer of state pension age in March, has published an interim report on ensuring the state pension age remains affordable and fair for all beyond 2028.

Ahead of delivering his final recommendations next year, Cridland said he wanted to stimulate wider discussion of the issues.

‘The future of the state pension age is a hugely important issue for this country. It must be fair and sustainable, and reflect changes in society. My interim report provides an insight into my developing thinking and poses a number of questions.

‘Whatever recommendations I decide to make in my final report, they will be underpinned by the importance of effective communications about the state pension age. People need to be able to plan effectively for their own retirement,’ he said.

The report suggests that generation X, born in the later 1960s and 1970s, are most likely to need to take account of any changes to the state pension age in their retirement planning.

The consultation looks at the key drivers of state pension age, including increasing life expectancy, and the issues facing different occupational groups. It considers the challenges faced by those who rely most on the state pension and are therefore most likely to be affected by any future changes, including carers, people with poor health or disability in later life, the self-employed, women and ethnic minorities.

Cridland says his report seeks to open a discussion on alternatives to a universal state pension age, recognising that the nature of work and retirement is changing, as people move from the old model of a fixed retirement age and a defined period of retirement to a more flexible approach where they may work part-time or change career in later life.

It considers options such as supporting individuals to work longer and more direct interventions, such as early access after a long working life to either a full or a reduced pension

The consultation is open until 31 December 2016. The independent review of the state pension age: interim report is here.

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