If the Prime Minister accepts Ros Altmann’s plan, it would mean that anyone with 45 years of social security contributions who is unable to work for health reasons could retire five years earlier with a reduced state pension
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Former Tory Pensions Secretary Ros Altman has called on Boris Johnson to lower the minimum retirement age to 61.
If the Prime Minister accepts her plan, it would mean that anyone with 45 years of social security contributions who is unable to work for health reasons could retire five years earlier with a reduced state pension.
Under the current system, one in seven 65-year-olds has been pushed into poverty because the retirement age is now 66 for both men and women. In 2026 there will be 67.
Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed 100,000 older people fell below the poverty line in 2020 as 700,000 65-year-olds had to wait the extra year before receiving pension payments worth £142 a week.
Under Baroness Altmann’s scheme, those unable to continue working would be entitled to a pension of around £84 a week instead of having to rely on unemployment benefits.
Those who could show shortened life expectancies could claim the full blow. The plan could be paid for out of the £4.9billion saved by raising the retirement age.
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Official figures show that the healthy lifespan for those living in disadvantaged areas is only 52, but 70+ for more affluent regions.
Baroness Altman, appointed Pensions Secretary by David Cameron in 2015, said: “This is about social justice as well as social support.
“Forcing everyone to wait longer because average life expectancy has increased ignores this nearly 20-year difference.
“Many had a hard manual working life that took such a toll on their health
Flexibility in the starting age for the statutory pension is required.”
Age UK’s Caroline Abrahams said: “We are deeply concerned by those who are forced to stop working before they reach statutory retirement age due to ill health or caring responsibilities.
“Life is grim for them and it’s only fair that they get early access to their state pension when they don’t have a realistic prospect of going back to work.”
A government spokesman said: “For those unable to work, we provide a strong social safety net that includes universal credit.”
But Baroness Altmann said: “It is draconian that those who are 45 years old don’t get a penny earlier in their pension.
“This would create a sliding scale of payments based on health, retirement and NI contributions. Sending unemployment benefits to older people when they can’t work is heartless.”
This was made worse by Tory changes to pension credits in 2016, which raised the age of claimants from 60 to 66.
Baroness Altmann said her plan could be modeled so that those who received early reduced pensions could still receive the full amount at 66.
Britain’s pensions are the lowest in the developed world – despite the triple lockdown having been lifted with return.
As a result, pensions will increase with inflation, income, or 2.5%, whichever is greater.
And with prices rising, that will net the pensioner almost an extra £1,000 next year.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/ex-tory-minister-urges-boris-27327295 Ex-Tory minister urges Boris Johnson to lower minimum retirement age to 61