Looks at the timetable for increasing the State Pension age and the review set up to look at how it should increase in the longer termJump to full report >>
From the 1940s until April 2010, the State Pension age (SPA) was 60 for women and 65 for men. Legislation to increase the SPA was introduced in three stages:
To ensure further revisions in life expectancy were taken into account in a timely and transparent way, the Coalition Government for periodic reviews of the SPA, based around the principle that people should maintain a specific proportion of adult life receiving the state pension. The reviews would be informed by a report from an independently-led body on wider factors such as variations in life expectancy and would seek to provide a minimum of ten years’ notice to people affected. The first such review must be published by 7 May 2017 (Cm 8528, Chapter 6; Pensions Act 2014 s27 ).
On 1 March 2016, the Government announced John Cridland as the independent lead for the first review of the SPA (HCWS 563, 1 March 2016, c39WS).
To mitigate the impact of a higher SPA on disadvantaged groups, it recommended that:
At the same time, the Government Actuary’s Department published a report looking at two alternative scenarios - reflecting receipt of the State Pension for either 32% or 33.3% of projected adult life in retirement.
On 24 March, the Government said it would consider both reports before presenting its review of the SPA to Parliament by 7 May 2017 (HCWS552, 24 March 2017; Pensions Act 2014 s27 (1)). However on 28 April, a DWP spokesperson said this would take place after the General Election on 8 June (UK ministers delay response on state pension age, Financial Times, 28 April 2017 (£)).
The main political parties took different approaches to the issue in their manifestos for the 2017 election. The Conservative party said it would “ensure that the state pension age reflects increases in life expectancy, while protecting each generation fairly”. (Conservative Party 2017 election manifesto). The Labour Party said it would commission a new review:
The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. We will commission a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a flexible retirement policy to reflect both the contributions made by people, the wide variations in life expectancy, and the arduous conditions of some work. (Labour Party 2017 election manifesto)
The SNP proposed an independent commission, the remit for which would include: “consideration of the specific demographic needs of different parts of the UK in relation to State Pension age.” (SNP 2017 election manifesto).
In his first speech as Work and Pensions Secretary on 4 July 2017, David Gauke welcomed John Cridland’s report as representing "exactly the sort of longer-term approach I want to cultivate within my department, and across wider government" (Speech, ABI long-term savings conference, 4 July 2017).
On 19 July, the Government announced that it would follow John Cridland’s proposed timetable “to increase the State Pension age from 67 to 68 in 2037–39, bringing it forward by seven years from its current legislated date of 2044–46.” (DWP, State Pension age review, July 2014, p4).
The background is discussed in more detail in Library Standard Note SN 2234 State Pension age - background (May 2012). The debate around the increases in the State Pension age for women born in the 1950s is discussed in SN-07405 (February 2017) and the triple lock in CBP 7812 (February 2017).
Commons Briefing papers SN06546
Author: Djuna Thurley