Shadow Pensions minister Rachel Reeves agrees in principle with suggestions the Government may legislate to raise the state pension age to 67 by 2026.
The current timetable left by the previous Labour government would see the pension age rise to 67 in 2036 and 68 by 2048. Last week, pensions minister Steve Webb told the Observer newspaper the current planned increases to the pension age were too slow, describing the increase in life expectancy as an “express train”.
The article quotes Whitehall sources as saying raising the pension age to 67 in 2026 is the most likely option for reform.
Writing on Politics Home, Reeves says: “Though we need to get the detail right, I agree with the principle behind the latest statements. I am willing to work with the Government to ensure policy keeps up with the express train. But it needs to be travelling on the right track. Any increase in the pension age needs to be thought through in advance and implemented fairly.”
Reeves has been critical of Government plans to equalise men and women’s pension age to 65 in 2018 before raising it to 66 for both in 2020. She says the move means people do not have enough time to prepare for the switch, adding 500,000 women would have to wait more than an extra year for their pension at short notice.
She writes: “Future increases need to give sufficient notice to people planning for their retirement, be spread evenly between the people affected and ensure the plans are fair between generations.
“If the Government is serious about increasing the speed at which the age rises to 67, it needs to look at how it will use the money it saves as a result. Providing certainty for these 500,000 women should be a priority.”
Webb said in the interview that any windfall from the faster increase in the state pension age to 67 would not be used as a trade off to ease the transition for women affected by bringing forward the equalisation from 2020 to 2018.