The possibility of replacing the universal state pension age with something more tailored to people’s individual needs has been raised in a government-commissioned review.
Former CBI director general John Cridland was appointed as the government’s independent reviewer of state pension age in March and yesterday a consultation was launched, seeking views on the state pension system of the future.
The review, which was described as a “breath of fresh air” by those representing older people, is tasked with eventually making recommendations on a suitable state pension age, with the aim of supporting affordability, fairness and fuller working lives.
The review’s consultation document, which raises a wide range of questions about people’s retirement, asks: “What are the alternatives to a universal state pension age?”
The document said for many people, state pension age can be the most significant reference point in later life planning but a number of other factors are also increasingly relevant.
These factors include some people having more flexible working patterns, living for longer and also having increased caring responsibilities for elderly family members.
The possibility of getting early access to the new state pension for those who have had a long working life was also raised, so for example someone starting work at 16 and having built up 50 years of national insurance contributions could become entitled to their state pension at 66 instead of at state pension age.
The consultation also seeks to find out more about how any state pension age changes affect the self-employed, whether someone’s ethnicity affects their pension outcomes and how lower pension outcomes for women can be taken into account. It will also examine how someone’s life expectancy is affected by where they live.
It will also look at how the housing market and people getting on the property ladder later in life and paying off mortgages into their later years will affect their ability to retire.
And the review will find out more about people experiencing “burnout” in certain jobs and whether there might be scope to give people more support.
The Pensions Act 2014 increased the State Pension age to 67 by April 2028.