Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) responds to the Budget Statement by George Osborne MP:
On plans to consider an automatic link between State Pension Age and longevity
The Government is right to consider how the State Pension Age needs to increase in line with longevity. It is simply not sustainable for the state to adequately support us for the increasing number of years we are spending in retirement.
However, the average retirement age remains below the State Pension Age. Therefore, increasing State Pension Age without increasing support to enable people work longer could result in a growth in poverty in later life. People retire early due to a combination of factors including poor health, caring responsibilities and ageism. Government must address these challenges and further support extending working lives. Government must consider whether future Budget's could include fiscal incentives to support gradual retirement.
Whilst many of us can expect to live 15 or 20 years after State Pension Age, parts of the country see much lower life expectancy. Further increases in State Pension Age must go alongside initiatives to tackle inequalities in health and healthy life expectancy.
On the single tier state pension
Pension saving is at an all time low. State pension reform is needed if we are to take steps towards ensuring we can cover the costs of our increased longevity. Providing people with a basic state pension above the level of means testing could also create a greater incentive for people to save privately. The confirmation of the introduction of a single tier state pension above the means test is very welcome.
On the NPPF and announcement of investment in house-builiding
Our housing market has failed both younger and older people over recent years. We have seen a chronic shortage of housing, from starter homes to retirement housing. The confirmation that the Government will push forward the National Planning Policy Framework with a presumption in favour of sustainable development is welcome. Extra investment is urgently needed if our housing stock is to meet the demands of our changing demography.
On personal taxation statements
Giving us as taxpayers, greater information about how our money is spent by Government, is very welcome. The Government uses tax revenue to transfer money between and within the generations. It is right that we all have a better understanding of these transfers.
It is right, for example, that the Government supports a decent pension alongside investment in the health and care needs of older people. It is also right that Government invests in the education of the young.
However, as we gain a greater understanding of how our money is spent, we must ensure that resultant public debate on intergenerational transfer does not generate unhelpful intergenerational conflict.”
Contact: David Sinclair
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