Mel Stride has said that ministers must “grasp” the nettle and bring forward the increase in state pension age from 66 to 68 within the first two years of the new parliament.
Stride explained that he had delayed the decision due to the slowed life expectancy. However, he said the decision would have to be made, and it would be for his successor. People would still receive 10 years notice.
He also said there were “no plans currently” to change the protests and riots in France.
The secretary for work and pensions, who is a close friend of Rishi Sunak’s, stated: “I do not think that it is in the national psyche for people to riot and burn things over a state pension.” I made the decision to delay the state pension because of Covid, economic uncertainty and the fact that it is important to give people a 10-year notice.
You’re talking about the 2030s, or 40s. “There’s no need to make a decision right now. You can wait until the beginning of the next Parliament, and then take this decision while still giving people ten years notice.”
He said that a decision must be made.
“There’s a real tension, because the OBR fiscal sustainability reports for 50 years project demographic changes and pension costs in the wrong way. There is a time when the nettle must be grasped. But it won’t be until someone other than myself is in charge.
Stride responded that there are “no plans” at the moment to abandon the triple lock pension guarantee, which ensures that payments will rise in line with the highest of inflation, earnings, or 2.5%. He said that the decision to keep the triple-lock is up to the PM, as well as others. There are no plans for it to be changed.
Pensioners are set to see a 10% increase in their pensions this year, despite the fact that wage growth is at only about 5.5% due to high inflation.
According to current plans, state pension age will rise from 66 to 67 between 2026-2028 in a gradual introduction, then to 68 by 2044-2046. This affects people born since April 1977.
The 2017 government review proposed bringing forward the range to the late 2030s. This would force millions of people who were born in the 1970s to wait an extra year to retire.
In January, reports claimed that ministers were planning to push this increase forward to 2035. This would affect people aged 54 or younger today. The Treasury was lobbying to save billions on state pension payments.
Ministers feared that middle-aged voters would react negatively to the proposed change, especially with an autumn general election on the horizon. The riots in France in response to a planned rise in France’s retirement age from 62 years old to 64 years old have also alarmed UK officials.