State pension age to increase to 68 by 2039 under new govt proposals

Hannah Godfrey writes

The government has announced plans to increase the state pension age to 68 between 2037 and 2039, in line with proposals laid out in the Cridland report.

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

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said that, when the state pension was introduced in 1948, a 65-year-old could expect to spend 13.5 years in receipt of it, which would equate to around 23% of their adult life.

However, this has been increasing ever since due to changes in life expectancy and a modern-day 65-year-old can now expect to live for another 22.8 years – or a third (33.6%) of their adult life.

The latest projections from the Office for National Statistics suggest the number of people eligible for the state pension in the UK is expected to grow by a third between 2017 and 2042, from 12.4 million to 16.9 million.

In March, John Cridland published his report on the state pension age, which recommended the state pension age increase to 68 by 2037 to 2039. His report also proposed the triple lock should be scrapped in the next parliament.

Secretary of state for work and pensions David Gauke (pictured), who hinted the state pension age would rise in line with Cridland’s proposals earlier this month, said: “I want Britain to be the best country in the world in which to grow old, where everyone enjoys the dignity and security they deserve in retirement.

“As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of state pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations.”

He added: “Combined with our pension reforms that are helping more people than ever save into a private pension and reducing pensioner poverty to a near record low, these changes will give people the certainty they need to plan ahead for retirement.”

Potential opposition

Meanwhile, AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby said the government could face a “serious battle” to get the “unpopular” proposal through the House of Commons.

“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.

“Even [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn can’t hold back the tide of our rapidly aging society and it would be hugely irresponsible not to get a grip on this today.”