The state pension age will rise to 67 for both men and women up to a decade earlier than previously planned, the Coalition Government is expected to announce next week.
Under a timetable set by the last government, the pension age was scheduled to reach 67 between 2034 and 2036. But Government ministers have told the Daily Mail that an ageing population and spiralling pension costs mean that this situation is no longer tenable.
Some sources told the newspaper that the change would come into force as soon as the ‘mid-2020s’, while others believed it would be closer to 2030.
The news followed promises by the Department of Work and Pensions yesterday to delay raising the pension age to 66 in 2020 by six months in order to address concerns that thousands of women would be unfairly advantaged by the move.
Under the Government’s plans, the pension age was due to rise from 60 to 65 by 2018 for women and then to 66 in 2020. But critics had warned that the change would mean some female workers born in the 1950s would have to wait an extra two years to draw their pensions, despite having received little notice of the shift in policy.
Work till we drop
As a result, ministers have delayed the second rise for both genders from April to October 2020, even though the change will cost the public purse an estimated £1 billion.
Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network
, gave a lukewarm response to the move, however, saying that female workers in the affected age group would still have to wait 18 months longer for their pensions than they had previously planned for.
“The soundness of raising the state pension age and forcing people to go on working when the number of jobs available is shrinking will be rightly questioned. Moreover, the Government continues to ignore the fact that the broad brush approach to raising state pension ages for all is deeply unfair anyway,” he added.
Failing to make adequate provision to help workers in physically-demanding jobs change roles in later life was “harsh at best”, Ball pointed out.
“While some good employers recognise this and have made flexible working and retirement available, there are huge numbers of jobs where this is just not possible and, with part-time roles in free-fall, people will be asking: ‘Are you really expecting us to work until we drop?’ he said.