The Government has broken a legal deadline to announce any changes to the state pension age, leaving millions of voters in the dark about their future pension pots.
Following a year-long independent review by John Cridland, former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, and a second independent report from the Government Actuary’s Department, Theresa May’s government was expected to inform Parliament of its plans.
The Government was legally mandated to review the state pension age – currently 65 for men and women – by 7 May, as set out in the 2014 Pensions Act.
Two days after the deadline, the Government has failed to announce its plans, leaving millions of voters in the dark when it comes to their future pension pots.
“Very convenient but unfortunately not very surprising,” tweeted sitting SNP MP Mhairi Black.
“This kind of thing is the exact reason we need MPs who will fight the Tories.”
Financial journalist Paul Lewis found in his Twitter poll that 95 per cent of 8511 respondents said the government should “obey the law and publish the state pension age plans now”, rather than wait until after 8 June.
“There are clear pre-election period rules that restrict the making of new, long-term decisions,” a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions told The Independent.
“Future state pension age policy will be a matter for the new Government to decide.”
The spokesman said that the two independent reports provided a “significant contribution” to the Government’s work and would most likely be drawn upon after the election.
Yet they advocate for several measures that are contrary to the Conservatives’ manifesto.
The Cridland review recommended scrapping the triple-lock pension, which guarantees a minimum annual rise to the state pension by 2.5 per cent.
It also recommended raising the state pension age from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039, which would affect around 5.8 million people.
For people who are younger than 30, they might find themselves working until the age of 70.
Protest outside Department of Work and Pensions
Tom McPhail, head of policy at discount broker Hargreaves Lansdown, told The Independent that delaying any raise to the state pension age until after the election was a “no-brainer” as Ms May would not want to deter any voters.
“It is also worth noting that whilst pensioner incomes have improved generally in the past 10 years, some people have slipped through the net and there are still retired individuals living in poverty,” he said.
He pointed to another concern: “Over the next 10 years, average private pension payouts will slowly decline as we move past the peak of final salary scheme benefits.
“So yes we do need to know what they plan to do, but the answer isn’t simple and it shouldn’t be rushed.”
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The Government’s passing of the 7 May deadline comes…