An “independent” review of the state pension age.


Here’s what the Terms of Reference say

The Government is required by the Pensions Act 2014 to conduct a periodic Review of
State Pension age. The independent report on other specified factors (independent
report) will provide evidence to inform that Review.

As part of the evidence-base that informs the Government Review of State Pension
age, the Secretary of State must commission two reports. These are:
a report from the Government Actuary that provides an analysis of the latest life
expectancy projections using specified proportions of adult life over State
Pension age; and an independent  report on other factors she considers relevant.

The terms of reference (TOR) for the latter are set out below.


Scope

The independent report should explore what metrics Government should take into
account when considering how to set State Pension age. It should include the following
factors:
 a consideration of recent trends in life expectancy in every part of the United
Kingdom;
 whether it remains right for there to be a fixed proportion of adult life people should,
on average, expect to spend over State Pension age?
 what metrics would enable State Pension costs, and the importance of sharing these
fairly between generations, to be taken into account when making State Pension age
decisions?
 what additional or alternative metrics would be appropriate to take into account when making State Pension age decisions?

In conducting analysis and reaching conclusions, the independent report should have
regard to both the sustainability and long-term affordability of the State Pension and the
views of organisations, individuals, and other interested parties.

The Government Review is expected to take account of a range of evidence including:
life expectancy, socio-economic issues and the future affordability and sustainability of
the State Pension. The independent report is not expected to cover questions related to
the structure of State Pension including, for example, how State Pension is uprated.

 Deliverables

The Government will consider the findings as part of its Review of State Pension age,
therefore, emerging findings and recommendations must be submitted to the Secretary
of State for Work and Pensions at a date to be determined by the Minister for Pensions
and Financial Inclusion/Secretary of State.

The content of the independent report is the sole responsibility of the person appointed to conduct the work who will have the final say on all key outputs and recommendations. The timing and manner of the publication of the independent report will be determined by the Secretary of State.


What Therese Coffey says

Therese Coffey

Therese Coffey who is the current Secretary of State says  that she’s commissioning Baroness NeveilleRolge to provide a report on the metrics for analysis and speak with other experts  and stakeholders, whle the Government Actuary is charged with analysing the latest life expectancy projections.


Baroness Neville-Rolfe is yet to say anything

Baroness Neville-Rolfe

Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG has a recognised wealth of senior level experience from a career in business and the public sector, including serving as a company director, working in the UK and internationally as well as being a pension scheme trustee in a FTSE 100 company. Therese Coffey  welcomes an external consideration of this issue.

 

Therese Coffey does not mention that Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG was Commercial Secretary to the Treasury from 21 December 2016 to 13 June 2017. Nor does it mention that she joined the House of Lords as a Conservative Peer in October 2013.


What the last non-conservative pension minister says.

Not everyone is convinced of the Baroness’ independence


What John Cridland said.

As we have seen, this review will determine to the extent of the TOR the State Pension’s future. The firat review was carried out by John Cridland and came to the following conculsions

The timing of our recommended increase in State Pension age to age 68 is designed to ensure that the State Pension can be relied on in future, as it has been in the past, as a crucial part of most people’s retirement planning and eventual income.

That is something the Government is determined to safeguard.

 State Pension age needs to rise because people are living longer, but future generations will still, on average, receive more over their lifetime from the State through their State Pension than those reaching State Pension age at any point before them.

 Even with these rises, the proportion of the population reaching State Pension age will continue to increase.


What the DWP is saying

State Pension age is currently 66 and two further increases are currently set out in legislation: a gradual rise to 67 for those born on or after April 1960; and a gradual rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046 for those born on or after April 1977.

The first Review of State Pension age was undertaken in 2017 and concluded that the next Review should consider whether the increase to age 68 should be brought forward to 2037-39 before tabling any changes to legislation.

A rise to 68 from 2037 would affect people born from the early 1970s onwards, rather than those born since the late 1970s, potentially pushing full retirement back for millions more people.

The DWP claim the review will:

  • examine the implications of the latest life expectancy data;
  • provide a balanced assessment of the costs of an ageing population and future State Pension expenditure;
  • consider labour market changes and people’s ability and opportunities to work over State Pension age;
  • and develop options for setting the legislative timetable for State Pension age that are transparent and fair.

It added the review would consider regional inequalities as well as “the effects for individuals with different characteristics and opportunities”.


What I can add

Since the Cridland review, the life expectancy of ordinary people has become a matter of even greater interest as we struggle with the impact of the pandemic.

The Covid Actuarial Response Group has , among other matters, considered the long term impact of  Covid on the UK population both in terms of health and life expectancy.

I hope that Baroness Neville-Rolfe and the Government Actuary will find their independent research helpful.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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