(Briefing from Silver Voices, a web-based membership organisation for the over sixties who want a platform for campaigning on current issues. More at: https://silvervoices.co.uk/about-us/)

A recent report by the International Longevity Centre has proposed that the state pension age (SPA) should be raised to 70 or 71 compared with 66 now, in order to be sustainable, and to ensure there are sufficient workers in the economy. The state pension age is already due to rise to 67 between May 2026 and May 2028 and to 68 in the early 2040s. Right-wing think tanks such as the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Adam Smith Institute constantly question the sustainability of the state pension and whether it should be means-tested. Lord Frost* at an IEA event last Autumn even suggested that the SPA should be raised to 75.

These organisations seem to forget that the Conservative Government commissioned a review of the state pension age as recently as 2022, carried out by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, to which the campaigning organisation Silver Voices and many others gave evidence. The Review did not recommend any radical changes to the existing timetable for increases in the SPA as mentioned above, and the Government shelved any decision on the matter until after the General Election. Silver Voices believes that no increases in the SPA (including the rise to 67) can be justified in the current climate, with life expectancy stalling (and even falling in deprived areas), ill-health and disability increasing as a result of the pressures on the NHS, and discrimination against older workers by employers continuing apace. And the impact of the pandemic and Long Covid has not yet been reflected fully in the statistics.

Indeed, the rise to 67 risks creating a new “WASPI” situation with hundreds of thousands of older people being given insufficient individual notice of their change in state pension status. If you fall into this age category, or know someone who does, please advise us whether individual notice has been received from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Of course, we take every opportunity to point out that the state pension provides only a subsistence level of income and is one of the worst in the developed world. Indeed, a recent report from a pension’s industry body found that a single person needed £14,400 a year minimum income in retirement, and £43,100 for a comfortable retirement! We also point out that the state pension is not a “benefit,” but a deferred payment, a contract between the Government and workers to provide a universal safety net in retirement in return for national insurance contributions made throughout working lives.

Dennis Reed, the Silver Voices Director has had the opportunity to make some of the above arguments in recent interviews on Sky News and Talk TV. As the General Election approaches the debate on the future of the state pension will intensify and we will be ready to intervene on behalf of older people whenever the issue pops up. And when the latest Triple Lock increase is implemented in April, Silver Voices will take the opportunity to emphasise the growing, and scandalous, gap between the old and new state pensions.

* Lord Frost was minister of state in the Cabinet Office between March and December 2021. Before being appointed to the House of Lords in 2020, he was a career diplomat, a special adviser (2016–18) and chief negotiator for exiting the European Union (2019–20).


Silver Voices logo
Silver Voices logo
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search