The Trades Union Congress says the Government should ditch plans to link state pension age increases to average life expectancy after research exposed huge disparities in different parts of the UK.
The Department for Work and Pensions has proposed introducing a five-yearly review of the state pension age in the next Parliament, which begins in 2015.
This review will be informed by analysis from the Government Actuary’s Department, which will consider the proportion of adult life people in the future can expect to receive the state pension.
In addition, an independently-led body will consider wider factors that should be taken into account when increasing the state pension age, including variances in life expectancy.
The TUC has today published research setting out the impact geographical area has on average life expectancy.
It suggests a woman in her late 40s from East Dorset can expect to receive £67,000 more in state pension when she retires than a woman of the same age living in Corby.
The TUC says this is because, on average, women in East Dorset live nine years longer than women in Corby.
The report goes on to say people living in other “poor” areas, such as Manchester, Salford and Hull, will lose out when the state pension age rises.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady says: “There is already a shocking divide in life expectancies across England, and if current trends continue that inequality will get worse in the coming decades. The Government’s pension reforms will add to the problem, with people in richer areas receiving more from the state, while those in poorer areas receive less.
“It cannot be right that people living in a wealthy area can receive tens of thousands of pounds more in state pension than someone living in a less well off part of the country, particularly as richer people are likely to have earned more during the career and have a bigger private pension too.
“The Government should abandon its plan to raise the state pension age in light of the new evidence on projected life expectancies. It should instead set up an independent commission to examine health inequalities and the impact on people’s expected retirement incomes.”
A DWP spokeswoman says: “Life expectancy is rising across the whole of the UK and we need a sustainable state pension system. Future rises in the state pension age will be independently reviewed taking in a range of relevant factors.
“These are expected to include variations in healthy life expectancy, between different socio-economic groups, regional variations, and wider economic considerations.”
|Life expectancy at 65 by local area (years)|
|East Dorset (male)||20.9||21.8||24|
|East Dorset (female)||23.7||25||28.1|
|Life expectancy at 65 by occupation (years)|
|Routine and manual (male)||15.8||17.4||19.3|
|Managerial and professional (male)||18.4||20.2||22.4|
|Routine and manual (female)||18.9||19.8||20.8|
|Managerial and professional (female)||21.3||22.8||24.6|