State pension age rethink ‘not beyond realm of possibility’ as Budget announcement looms

Currently, the state pension is set to increase from 66 up to 67 before 2030, and again to 68 before 2050. However, some people have called for it to be reduced rather than increased due to a falling life expectancy in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak is preparing to announce his Autumn Budget on October 27, 2021, as people up and down the country anxiously wait to find out whether any changes will impact their finances.

One of the potential issues to be addressed is the increase in state pension age, which has been the topic of much debate recently. Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell provided his thoughts on the current plans to increase the state pension age and the likelihood of the Government changing course.

He said: “The current state pension age is 66, with plans to raise this to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2046 (although this could be brought forward to 2039).

“However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his Conservative Party conference speech to highlight regional differences in life expectancy as a key area of inequality and target for his ‘levelling up’ agenda.”

READ MORE: Pension POLL: Do you trust the Government to protect state pensions for the next 40 years?

Most regions of England saw their average life expectancy fall, but some areas were impacted more than others. Large drops in male life expectancy occurred in the North East (16.7 weeks) and Yorkshire and The Humber (8.8 weeks).

Females also experienced stark declines in life expectancy, as it fell in the West Midlands (9.9 weeks). However, some areas were not negatively affected, with life expectancy in the South West increasing by 17.7 weeks.

The gap is even more clear when comparing specific locations. For example, male life expectancy fell by 1.9 years in Hertsmere but went up by 2.1 years in Westminster. Elsewhere, female life expectancy dropped 1.1 years in Derby but rose 1.7 years in Kensington and Chelsea.

Figures from Statista between 2017 and 2019 further illustrate the stark difference in life expectancy when comparing different parts of the UK, with discrepancies of more than 10 years between the best and worst areas.

On the issues facing women with regard to state pension age, Mr Selby said: “Increases in the state pension age have been mired in controversy in recent years, particularly because of the impact on women born in the 1950s who argue they were not properly warned about the changes.”

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is a group campaigning on behalf of 1950’s women who feel they were unfairly treated by the state pension age changes which were brought in with the 1995 State Pension Act.

They argue that due to issues with the way the changes were brought in, 3.8 million women born between 1950 and 1960 have been mistreated and were taken by surprise.

WASPI claims many women were not given fair notice of the changes, despite recommendations made which advised they should receive up to 15 years’ notice, and were not personally or appropriately notified when the changes were first brought in over 25 years ago.

Some women have been caught out by the changes, and some have been made to wait much longer for their pension than other women of a similar age, with a one-year age difference possibly meaning having to wait an extra three-years for their state pension. has contacted the DWP asking for comment.

A DWP spokesperson previously said: “We are fully committed to ensuring the historical errors that have been made by successive Governments are corrected, and as this report acknowledges, we’re dedicating significant resource to doing so. Anyone impacted will be contacted by us to ensure they receive all that they are owed.

“Since we became aware of this issue, we have introduced new quality control processes and improved training to help ensure this does not happen again.”

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