Labour peers are pushing for variations in the state pension age based on the type of job people have held and where they live.
Speaking at the second reading of the Pensions Bill in the House of Lords yesterday, Labour members attacked Government moves to increase the pensions age as “one size fits all”.
The Bill, which passed through the Commons, will raise the state pension age from 65 currently to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
It will also create a statutory review of the pension age at least every six years which will consider whether further increases are necessary.
Now:Pensions trustee and Labour peer Lord John Monks says there are “inherent inequalities” between the regions and between manual and professional workers.
He says: “It seems you have won the jackpot if you are a professional worker in Dorset; if you are a manual worker in one of the old industrial areas, you are in trouble.
“Yet it is ‘one size fits all’, and that one size does not fit some, for whom, in the years after retirement, the forecasts are pretty poor.
“I hope these will be considered. Certainly, if the state pension age is to be changed again, I hope that this review will lead to some independent process, to give people confidence in the judgment about retirement ages.”
Pensions Advisory Service board member and Labour peer Baroness Patricia Hollis says it is an “insult” for those with higher life expectancies to call for longer working lives.
She says: “Every year that we raise the state pension age is deeply unfair on those who have had hard lives.
“By raising the state retirement age, we eat into and reduce their few healthy retirement years even further, all to subsidise the pensions of people such as me—the longer lived, healthier, better educated and better off, including those of us in your Lordships’ House. Our single-age retirement policy—one size fits all—is regressive and unfair. “
Labour Lords pensions spokeswoman Baroness Maeve Sherlock agrees with the need for a periodic review but wants an independent cross-party process.
Department of Work and Pensions minister Lord David Freud says increasing life expectancy is putting huge pressure on the pensions system.
He says: “[The review] will ensure the state pension age is examined in an open and transparent way on a regular basis and prevent future Governments from needing to take emergency action.”
Former Labour cabinet minister Lord John Hutton, who also reviewed public sector pensions for the Government, says: “There is no doubt the pressures, both financial and societal, will build up unless we stay ahead of the process of demographic change.”