The government has launched an independent review into the state pension age, led by former director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) John Cridland.
The Pensions Act 2014 requires the government to review the state pension age during each Parliament.
The review will take into account increased life expectancy, with special consideration of variations in life expectancy based on location. For example, men in Greater Manchester have a life expectancy at birth that is 2.4 years lower than in Greater London (77.2 vs 79.6); for women it is 2.6 years lower (81.2 vs 83.8).
Rachael Saunders, age at work director for Business in the Community (BITC), said this should be seen as an opportunity to promote fairness.
“Pensions are an equality issue,” she said. “People who earn less, have broken work histories, and have physically demanding jobs, are disproportionately affected by change – but the most disadvantaged are not served well by the current system. We need to take the opportunity of change to increase fairness.
“We also welcome recognition of the differential impact of state retirement age on carers, people with disabilities, the self-employed, ethnic minorities and women. Between them, these groups cover a substantial chunk of the UK population. Tackling barriers to fair pension provision is vital."
John Cridland said that the future of the state pension age is a hugely important issue. “It must be fair and sustainable, and reflect changes in society,” he said. “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 consultation started yesterday and will run until 31 December 2016.