Review of State Pension Age Report

After over a year of looking at a wide range of evidence, and meeting many individuals and organisations, John Cridland’s Independent Review of the State Pension age has published its final report. John Cridland was tasked by the Government to make recommendations around a ‘fair and sustainable’ State Pension age (SPA) from 2028 onwards.

Continue reading “Review of State Pension Age Report”

Is retiring comfortably a thing of the past?

Since the early 1990s the numbers of people working past State Pension age (SPA) has been continuously on the rise. Although people choose to continue working for a variety of reasons, perhaps the most important is simply ‘for the money’.

However if this is why people keep working, for some it will never be enough.

A whopping 45% of those currently aged 50+ and in employment will have to work for at least 11 years beyond their SPA in order to attain a level of retirement income which maintains their standard of living.

And of course many may never reach this marker – for such people retiring will necessarily mean a drop in living standards.

This is the result of new research by the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), sponsored by Age UK and three other organisations.

The research sets a level of income estimated to bring the equivalent standard of living in retirement, and then poses the simple question: ‘how long will people need to work to reach this?’

The following chart is taken from the report:

PPI chart on replacement rate by SPA

This could have important implications for a variety of reasons.

For example, it indicates that many people will want (or need) to keep working for longer than they may have anticipated. This impacts on individuals who may have to rethink plans for retirement, and provides a further imperative for employers to become more age-friendly.

Also, many people will not be able to work for this long. This is obvious for people who suffer from ill health, but also many who lose their job – even in good health – will find it difficult to re-enter the workforce due to ageist attitudes from employers.

However, the report also looks at the numbers of people attaining a minimum income standard – unrelated to their lifetime earnings – by the time they reach SPA. Happily, the numbers here are much higher (85%), but clearly many people will not be able to continue the same lifestyle if they have such a reduced income.

The research highlights issues facing people both sides of State Pension Age, and shows clearly just how uncertain the future can be without good employment and pension provision.

The full report is available on the Pensions Policy Institute website, and makes for a very interesting read.

Last year Age UK’s More Money in Your Pocket campaign helped 500,000 people put £120 million back in their pockets through free benefits information and advice. This year, we will continue to break down the barriers that prevent people from claiming. For more information, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/moremoney

The work well done

As the State Pension Age rises and people are being encouraged to work for longer, more and more employers (and the public too) are going to have to change their perceptions of older workers. Instead of believing the negative stereotypes and considering that older workers are likely to be less effective at certain jobs than their younger colleagues, perceptions need to change to recognise that each person is an individual with different skills and capabilities.

I came back from a short break in Catalonia, Spain, last week, where I learned about a common thread through the Catalonian culture: the ‘feina ben feta’ –or ‘work well done’.

I read about a local artistic movement by the turn of the last century which made of the quest for properly accomplished tasks one of its leitmotivs. In the park surrounding the monastery of Montserrat I came upon the monument to Joan Maragall, a poet, which includes the following call: “Strive in your endeavour as if the salvation of humanity depended upon each detail you think, each word you say, each piece you assemble, each blow of your hammer. Because it does depend on them, believe me”.

The following day I watched a programme on national TV about Teodoro Gómez. Mr Gómez takes the bus to work every morning. Nothing unusual here. He works at an industrial bakery set up by his grandfather –again, not uncommon for a long-standing family-run business. He weighs each baguette, for either the needle in the scale has to stop at 230 grams exactly or they are not sold. Well, a good example of ‘feina ben feta’ you might say, but still not much to make it on national TV.

One of his grandsons runs the ‘cakes and buns’ department and one of his granddaughters is in charge of one of the retail outlets. Grandson? Granddaughter? Oh, yes, for I forgot to mention that Teodoro is 100 years old. He still loves passing on his wealth of experience and expertise to the younger generations (some of his great-grandsons are already part of the staff). And not just his experience and expertise, but his values and work ethos too.

I came back from Spain with a whole new perspective of my own work. It goes beyond professionalism. It goes beyond doing proficiently what is expected. Señor Gómez is not from Catalonia, but he rolls his kneading pin as if human life as we know it depended on it.  I want to be part of his bunch.

Back in the UK, there are increasing numbers of people working past their State Pension Age. As pension values declines and the State Pension Age goes up, the longer-term trend will almost certainly be for more people to stay in work. Of course, most people won’t want to work until 100, but as we may have to work longer that expected it is essential to break down such negative stereotypes, especially that older workers will not perform as well.

Do you know of any British Teodoro’s? I would love to know about them, and perhaps they could even help Age UK to get this message across. What a privilege it would be to meet them.

Find out more about work and learning

State Pension Age Announcement – Not far enough?

After many months of campaigning, today’s announcement that women affected by the state pension age changes will wait a maximum of 18 months to claim their pension was welcome news for those women who would have had to wait up to 2 years. 

For many women though we understand that this change does not go near enough and appreciate entirely your disappointment and anger that the Government has not reversed its policy. We understand that you feel let down and angry. 

Age UK has worked with many of you to try and get the Government to  reverse its policy of speeding up the equalisation of SPA and increasing the SPA to 66 sooner than originally planned.   Today was an important step in the right direction, we like you wanted the Government to go further.

Find out more about the Government’s announcement

State Pension Age Announcement

The Government announced today that women affected by the equalisation of the State Pension Age will be given a much-needed respite and will now wait a maximum of 18 months to claim their pension.

This will really help the 330,000 hard-working women born between December 1953 and October 1954 who would have been hit hardest, having to wait between 18 months and 2 years longer for their State Pension.

We welcome the changes that have been made – they have listened to our concerns and we appreciate that it is a significant financial commitment from the Government, amounting to around £1 billion, in what is a difficult time.

We would have liked the changes being made to have gone further. Having faced uncertainty twice already, these women must not be affected by any further changes to their state pension age again without sufficient notice.

All of us at Age UK would like to thank the thousands of women up and down the country that have helped our campaign.

*This blog has now been updated. Our sincerest apologies for any confusion caused by our previous post which stated 6 months instead of 18 months.

 Find out more about the Government’s announcement

Remember us? guest blog – Yvonne Hunter, State Pension Age campaigner

Yvonne Hunter is one of 330,000 women born between December 1953 and October 1954 who will be will be affected by the Government’s proposals to speed up the equalisation of women’s State Pension Age to 65 by 2018.

I am 57 years old, born in May 1954 and was one of the women that were a part of the first group whose pension age was changed from 60. This change was made some years ago, 1995, and I was fully aware and accepted under rights of Equality that the age should be moved towards 65. Therefore for the past 15 years I have been planning to receive my State pension in July 2018, when I would be just over 64 meaning that I had accepted a delay of just over 4 years.

Now the Government’s proposal will push my State Pension Age to 66, which means a further delay of virtually 2 years and a loss in pension of over £11,000 plus further delays in receiving other benefits. Based on a SPA of 64, I have already made irreversible employment and financial decisions. However, women and men who were born after April 1955 were not expecting to receive their pension until age 65, thus they have a maximum of one year to wait for their SPA. Therefore I believe these proposals are unjust to the group of women who had accepted the earlier changes to their pension age without acrimony. At this stage we should not be expected to wait more than one further year to receive our state pension, as no man of a similar age will have had their SPA changed by more than one year.

The Pensions Bill will reach Report Stage in Parliament on the 18th October, this is the last opportunity for the Government to act. We want the Coalition to stick to the existing timetable, but at the very least we are calling on them to:

Mitigate the effects of these changes on the worst affected groups of women, those whose state pension age would rise by eighteen months or more, and put in place transitional arrangements to protect those who do not have sufficient time to plan for a revised Pension Age.

Ensure there is a clear plan of action as to how all those affected the change will be contacted to inform them of the implications.

Yvonne and many women like her have already had their state pension age raised once before and to do so again is deeply unfair.

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Find out more about our State Pension Age campaign

Guest Blog from Rachel Reeves MP – State Pension Age Campaign

This blog is by Rachel Reeves MP in support of Age UK’s State Pension Age campaign

Time is running out for the government to change its plans for the state pension age. For months we have heard vague promises and hints from Ministers that they will make the transition easier for the women worst affected by their plans, but when the Pensions Minister spoke to Lib Dem conference his ‘big bold plans’ for the pension system didn’t deal with this unfairness. The government has less than a month to act before the plans become law.

 If that legislation does go through, 500,000 women will have to wait more than a year to get their state pension, 33,000 of them face a two year delay. These changes kick in from 2016, leaving women little time to prepare, and they don’t have the means: these women have, on average, £9,100 saved for their retirement, compared to the £52,800 men of the same age have amassed on average. The loss in state pension income amounts to £15,000 in some cases.

Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, myself and the Labour Party as a whole are standing united, alongside Age UK and the thousands of women affected, against the plans. It’s not fair to put the burden on the shoulders of these women who are the backbone of our families: the mums who took time off work to bring up their children; the daughters who are helping their parents as they get older; and the grans who are providing child-care for their children’s children.

Until the government act on their promises, women are being left in the dark.  Let’s keep the pressure up before the third and final reading of the Pensions Bill in Parliament on 18th October.

For more information about our campaign visit