State pension age: Labour commitments criticised after launching national tour attacking Tory hike plans

Oliver Gill
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Pensions minister David Gauke released plans in July for a change to the state pension age timetable (Source: Getty)

Labour is facing criticism over its state pension age commitments after announcing plans to go on a national tour attacking Tory plans to accelerate retirement age rises.

In July, Tory ministers revealed proposals for the UK’s official retirement age to rise to 68 over two years from 2037 rather than by 2046 as previously scheduled.

The plans followed similar recommendations made by the former director-general of the CBI, John Cridland, in a government commissioned report on the matter earlier this year.

Labour is committed to keeping the state pension age at 66.

But Labour’s policy was questioned by one the UK’s largest pension brokers, AJ Bell.

“If Labour is going to attack the government’s state pension plans it needs to come clean with the electorate about its alternative proposals. Will the state pension age simply remain at 66 forever more?” said senior analyst Tom Selby.

Is it willing to spend more public money on supporting older people, potentially at the expense of the younger voters so successfully galvanised by Jeremy Corbyn at the last election?

Read more: Government increases state pension age to 68 from 2037

36.9m people

Shadow pensions minister Debbie Abrahams said 36.9m people will have to work longer if Tory plans are implemented.

She said: “Conservative MPs must explain to the tens of thousands of people in their constituencies, why the burden of Tory austerity is being pushed onto them, while corporations and the richest individuals receive tax breaks.

In response, pensions minister David Gauke defended the government's plans.

"Failing to act now would be irresponsible and place an extremely unfair burden on younger generations," he said.

Labour’s pensions pledge would result in borrowing an additional £250bn by 2045-46 meaning less money available for frontline services.

Meanwhile, Selby highlighted that the Cridland reported estimated the state pension will cost an extra £20bn by 2020 without reform.

Selby added: “Such numbers simply cannot be ignored and Labour needs to be straight about the detail of its own proposals and how they will affect people of all ages.”

Read more: Are the Tories plotting a dramatic hike in the state pension age?

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