Thursday, 13 October 2016 16:02

State pension: Major report floats early access

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A pensions analyst has branded a major Government report on fairness and affordability of the state pension ‘underwhelming’.

An Independent Review of the State Pension age and Interim Report by John Cridland came out today, with early access for those in manual jobs or starting work aged 16, among the more noteworthy ideas mentioned.

It confirmed that, without adjustments to the triple lock, or to state pension ages to push them up faster, the cost will increase by 1% to 2% of GDP from a projected level of 5% of GDP in 2020.

AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby said: “Whilst changing the state pension age requires careful consideration, today’s interim report by John Cridland is underwhelming. It sets the scene without ever letting us in on what the final report might propose.

Some of the ideas which merit serious consideration include allowing early access to the state pension at a reduced rate, he said, adding this would be a “natural extension of the freedom and choice reforms, and could be cost neutral to the taxpayer”

He said: “If private pensions can be taken at any time from age 55, why not your state pension too?"

The report was published with a consultation and Mr Cridland CBE called on the public and representative bodies to have their say.

Mr Cridland was appointed as the government’s independent reviewer of State Pension age in March and will deliver his final recommendations next year.

He said: “The future of the State Pension age is a hugely important issue for this country. It must be fair and sustainable, and reflect changes in society. My interim report provides an insight into my developing thinking and poses a number of questions.

“Whatever recommendations I decide to make in my final report, they will be underpinned by the importance of effective communications about the State Pension age. People need to be able to plan effectively for their own retirement.
The review continues to gather evidence to inform its recommendations and the views of the public will form a key part of that data.”

The consultation looks at the key drivers of State Pension age like life expectancy, including in the different nations and regions and for different occupational groups.

It also asks about the challenges faced by those who rely most on the State Pension such as carers, people with poor health or disability in later life, the self-employed, women and ethnic minorities.

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “We would encourage John Cridland and the government to look at the private sector's ability to use medical underwriting and the enhanced annuity market to deliver better value from the state pension to those with reduced life expectancy.”

He said: “This interim report is published less than a year after the launch of the new state pension, which itself took several years of hard work to deliver. It gives a comprehensive overview of the issues and challenges posed by state pension policy. The fact that it runs to 100 pages is indicative of the complexity of the subject.”

The consultation starts today and will run until the 31 December 2016.

Read 3129 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 12:14

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