If you were born between April 6th 1970 and April 5th 1978 and between 39 and 47, this affects you. You have just slipped one year back from your state retirement age, have another year’s National Insurance Contributions to pay and you’re facing a state pension age of 68.
Fairer for some than others. If you have no intention of retiring this may not bother you much. If the reason you go to work is because it’s one day closer to retiring, this will seem unfair.
By and large the people who love their jobs are the higher earners and in control of how long and how they work. Those who hate their jobs have little control of their career or how they can put an end to the “toad work”.
Simply treating everyone the same is unfair- certainly if you listen to Ros Altmann who would have a state pension age that reflected individual’s longevity. This segmented approach could work if big data could pull together our postcode, our medical record and our lifestyle to tell Government how long we were going to live. Is that the kind of fairness we want? Or would we prefer a fairness where those who die early, subsidise those who live longest. To date, we have worked on the latter model, but don’t expect Cridland to cap out the arguments for personal retirement ages – they have a fairness of their own.
I’m not sure that Cridland was using the right data, the latest mortality data in the UK sheds a different light on future longevity than the 2015 ONS numbers that Cridland used. If there really is a change in direction for longevity, then Cridland will be wrong and the need to push back SPA will disappear. Some people thought that the reason the Government missed its May 8th deadline for publishing its plans was that it was rethinking them in the light of the new data.
They were wrong, the Government just didn’t want to announce bad news prior to the election. This was not right. As I was in the room when the Pensions Minister found out about the next election and as John Cridland was waiting outside when I finished the meeting, I have no doubt that the timing of the announcement was politically motivated! Yesterday was a good day to bury bad news.
I personally think Cridland was right to stick with a universal state pension age, to push back SPA for this cohort of people and I think his idea for a mid-life MOT is a good one.
The Government has been accused of being sneaky in its introduction of changes to SPA in the past. Most vociferously by the WASPI women who campaign against the changes to retirement age of a group of them who weren’t well informed of what were going on and who feel particularly hard done by.
The Government need to try doubly hard to communicate not just the changes but the impact of those changes. The cost of the State Pension has recently been estimated to be about the same as a Lamborghini, it’s a big ticket item for the Government to pay. It is small wonder the SPA attracts attention in the Treasury and DWP.
But this subject did not even trend on Twitter. For most people , pensions will continue to be too hard, too distant and too inaccessible and people will hide under the covers and go to sleep rather than to listen to the arguments.
If the Government is serious about pensions, it has to invest in getting the messaging right. People need to know not just what has changed but how the changes will effect them and what they need to do to get back to where they were.
There’s a good discussion on this on the Radio 5 wake up to money podcast. I’ve just got back from the studio this morning. I’m sure if we could have more of these, we’d keep the Government honest!
You can listen to the Podcast here, the discussion is at 32 minutes.