United Kingdom state pension age to rise to 68 sooner than planned - minister

Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke accelerated by seven years the lift in the state pension age to 68

The state pension age is to rise to 68 from 2037, which is seven years earlier than planned and will affect six people now in their mid-40s.

The Government now spends 5.2 per cent of GDP on the state pension, which would rise to 6.5 per cent of GDP by 2039/40 without any action.

Millions of people will now have to work until they are 68 after David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, announce the change, which will come from 2037.

The Scottish National Party also opposed the plan to raise the state pension age above 66.

I would like to see more flexibility in state pension age: perhaps with a flexible band of ages at which the pension could start, or perhaps allowing people to take their state pension at a lower age, either because they are seriously ill or because they have worked for more than 50 years.

Mr Gauke said that increases in life expectancy meant that those affected could still expect to receive more over their lifetimes than earlier generations.

The government says the new timetable will "maintain fairness between generations in line with continuing increases in life expectancy".

"But an ageing population also presents us with some profound challenges".

The proposed change, which will help to ease an intense strain on pension finances, means an extra year on the job for workers born between April 1970 and April 1978.

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"But it would be risky to treat this report as an excuse to avoid tackling the long-term sustainability of the state pension".

"The "universal" state pension age we now operate under means that retirement age applies equally to everyone".

When the modern State Pension was introduced in 1948, a 65-year-old could expect to spend 13.5 years in receipt of it - 23% of their adult life.

The state pension age is now set to increase to 68 between 2044 and 2046, but under new proposals this would be brought forward seven years.

Spending on the state pension would increase by one per cent of GDP - or around £20billion - every year by 2036/37 without the proposed changes, found a review by John Cridland.

Shadow pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams condemned the Government's "slash and burn" policies on social security, which she said would hit older people, particularly those facing health problems in later life.

He said: 'This is about the Government taking responsible action in response to demographic pressures.

The data from University College London, showing that the rate of increase in life expectancy has slowed, will inevitably lead to questions around the pace of State Pension Age increases.

"Increasing the SPA is a controversial topic - but it is important that the government gives people enough notice of any changes so that they can save enough if they want to retire earlier", he said.

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