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Published on 29 November 2011 03:30 PM
In response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Graeme Francis, Head of Policy for Age Cymru said:
“The decision to speed up the timetable to increase the State Pension Age to 67 will come as a bitter blow to many people fast approaching retirement especially those in ill-health, caring for relatives and those out of work.
“Age Cymru recognises that as life expectancy increases it is reasonable to consider increases to State Pension age and longer working lives, however this decision has been based on no published detailed analysis. Average life expectancy must not be the only factor that is considered as at the moment the huge disparities in healthy life expectancy across the UK means that the poorest socio-economic groups will be required to sacrifice proportionately more of their retirement. This is a particular issue in parts of Wales.
“Age Cymru is calling for an Independent Pensions Advisory Commission to be set up to ensure pensions decisions are based on all the relevant factors including inequalities in life expectancy, employment opportunities, trends in private provision and prospects for older workers. This week the UK Government has announced an increase in State Pension age and a delay in auto-enrolment for some people rather than looking at retirement provision in the whole. Any changes in State Pension age should be made in the context of a strategy to improve health inequalities, a timetable for the reduction and abolition of pensioner poverty and a strategy for achieving this, a firm commitment to private pension reform and improvement to state pensions.”
“We welcome the UK Government’s decision to maintain its commitment to increase the basic state pension by the triple guarantee so that it will rise by 5.2% in line with September’s CPI. This will mean an extra £5.30 a week in pensioners’ pockets which will help towards meeting the rising costs of living. “We also welcome the Government’s decision to increase the standard amount of Pension Credit by the same amount. However this cost will be met through reductions in savings credit provided to pensioners with slightly higher incomes.”
“We will be examining the review very carefully to ensure that the overall package does not allow employers to force older workers out of the workplace or be used as a backdoor way to reintroduce forced retirement which the government has only just abolished as discriminatory.”
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