The government has announced the state pension age (SPA) will rise to 68 seven years earlier than previously planned.
The change is in line with a report led by John Cridland and published in March this year.
Under current legislation, from December 2018, the SPA for men and women will increase to 66. It will then rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
Cridland’s report said the SPA should rise from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039. Now the secretary of state for work and pensions David Gauke (pictured) has said the government accepts this recommendation.
‘This is about the government taking responsible action in response to growing demographic and fiscal pressure,’ he said.
In an article for the Financial Times last month Gauke said he was prepared to make ‘big decisions’ on pensions.
Labour said it opposed the government’s plans, and stood by its manifesto pledge to keep the SPA as it is.
In response to this announcement, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said the opposition party does not support the government’s decision.
‘Labour wants a different approach, in our manifesto we committed to leaving the state pension age 66,’ she said.
In response to this Gauke said Labour’s SPA approach is ‘reckless, short-sighted and irresponsible’.
‘Fixing the state pension age at 66 demonstrates a complete failure to deal with the situation in front of us,’ he said.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) also said it does not support the government’s SPA decision and opposes the plan to raise the SPA above 66.
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said this opposition from other parties it could cause problems for the government when it puts the increase to a parliamentary vote.
‘The government could well face a serious battle to get this unpopular measure through the House of Commons, however. Labour has already indicated it will oppose such reform and, with a wafer thin majority, only a few rebellious MPs would leave the plans on a political knife edge,’ he said.
By J Gilbert (NMA)