By: Kimberly Rodrigues
The UK government has decided to postpone a decision on bringing forward the rise in the state pension age to 68 until after the next election, in order to conduct a further impact review. Currently, the state pension age is 66 and is set to rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and then to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
A 2017 review proposed moving the change to 68 forward to 2037-2039, but the latest review recommends the rise to take place in 2041-43, citing the slowing increase in life expectancy since 2017. The government is obligated to review the state pension age every six years.
According to Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the government cannot make a decision on the timing of the increase to 68 as there is insufficient evidence available on the long-term impact of recent challenges like Covid-19.
“Given the level of uncertainty about the data on life expectancy, labour markets, and the public finances … I therefore plan for a further review to be undertaken within two years of the next parliament to consider the rise to age 68 again,” Stride said.
“The government does not intend to change the existing legislation prior to the conclusion of the next review.”
The Conservative party, currently in power in the UK, is behind the opposition Labour party in opinion polls with an election expected next year.
While Labour supported the government’s decision to delay the increase in the state pension age, they questioned the timing of the move, highlighting previous statements by the government that advancing the increase was crucial for the long-term financial viability of public funds.
“Now it turns out, with a general election only a year or so away … it is not so reckless and irresponsible after all to abandon it,” Labour’s work and pensions spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said.
President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age by two years to 64 has sparked some of the worst social unrest in France in years this month.
(With inputs from PTI)