The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has hosted today the publication event for the Independent Review of the State Pension Age (SPa), led by the Independent Reviewer John Cridland.
Held in the historic Staple Inn Hall, the launch marks the publication of a broad review into the SPa and was attended by policymakers, think tanks, charities, academics, business groups and pensions providers.
The event included a panel discussion with Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre, and Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of The Centre for Ageing Better, as well as speeches from John Cridland and Sofia Stayte representing the review team, and opening remarks from Fiona Morrison, Immediate Past President of the IFoA.
The IFoA’s submission to the review praised the breadth of its scope, and in addition to recommendations for reform it encouraged ongoing monitoring of the SPa to identify whether an early formal review is advisable.
In particular, the IFoA supports the following recommendations set out in the review:
While the focus of the Review is on SPa, the IFoA is pleased to see that the Review refers to the importance of SPa being considered alongside the uprating of the State Pension. We support Mr Cridland’s view of the State Pensions triple lock, and believe strongly that the triple lock is unnecessary if the level of the new State Pension has been properly set.
We are pleased that the Review contains support for a ‘Mid-Life MOT’, which reflects the IFoA’s previous calls for such a review, which encourages people around the age of 50 to consider the next 15 plus years of their working lives. This will provide an opportunity for discussion of an individual’s preparation for retirement.
The IFoA also agrees that there should be great care in the communication of SPa entitlement to younger generations. We believe that it may be appropriate to suggest a likely range of State Pension ages for younger generations, with a promise to provide increasing certainty as each generation ages and as the affordable level of SPa becomes more apparent.
With regards to the proposed access to a means-tested pensioner benefit a year before State Pension age (from the rise to 68) for long-term carers and people with ill health or disabilities, the IFoA does not consider that this is the correct approach.
However, in determining SPa and the differing costs of alternative State Pension ages, we do believe the impact of caring responsibilities should be taken into account. With an ageing population, it seems likely that a substantial, and increasing, proportion of those approaching SPa will have caring responsibilities.
Those undertaking caring responsibilities may be forced to leave the conventional workforce. As such, continuation of the Carers’ Credit, and greater awareness for those entitled but not yet claiming it, is important to help avoid those with caring responsibilities from losing out on accrual of State Pension rights.
It may also be appropriate to consider more broadly whether the eligibility conditions for Carers’ Credit are excluding people providing socially valuable informal care for individuals with care needs, but who do not qualify for (or are not claiming) the requisite benefits to enable the carer to claim State Pension credits.
Fiona Morrison, Immediate Past President of the IFoA, said:
The State Pension Age is at the very heart of what actuaries do, and I am delighted that John has decided to hold the publication event for his review in our historic hall.
The Cridland review should be praised for its thorough and inclusive approach, and we agree that the State Pension age cannot be looked at in isolation, and that issues of broader social policy must be taken into account. It is my hope that the Government will use its findings as a basis for constructive and meaningful debate on the SPa, and on wider issues of pensions adequacy.
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