State pension: Warning tens of thousands to be 'plunged into poverty' in plans drawn up by Hunt

New plans under Jeremy Hunt would leave people 'plunged into poverty' according to campaigners
New plans under Jeremy Hunt would leave people 'plunged into poverty' according to campaigners

Campaigners warn proposals to hike state pension would leave retirement plans of older workers ruined

Published

Thousands of employees in their 50s will be “plunged into poverty” every year according to campaigners who warn new state pension plans will leave many struggling to make ends meet.

Those aged 54 and under would be forced to delay retiring under potential plans by the Treasury to increase the pension age to 68.

Jeremy Hunt’s proposals to bump up the retirement age 11 years earlier than planned could save the Government billions of pounds.

But Age UK has warned that the hike could leave people struggling financially.

Age UK has warned that the hike could leave people struggling financially
Age UK has warned that the hike could leave people struggling financially

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: "There is no justification for raising the State Pension age at the moment, especially as we know that the people who will lose out the most are those unable to work due to ill health and caring responsibilities.

"As well as anyone with few or outdated skills and qualifications who becomes unemployed in mid-life and then finds it impossible to get another job, due in part to rampant ageism in the labour market.

“As things stand, and against the context of endemic ageism in the labour market, any decision by the Government to make today's fifty-somethings wait longer for their State Pension would be setting up hundreds of thousands of men and women for a miserable and impoverished few years in their run up to retirement.”

Ministers are required by law to review the state pension age regularly and the deadline for the decision is May.

A rise to 68 is currently planned for 2046, but new proposals could see the change brought forward to 2035.

Work and Pensions Minister Mel Stride is opposed to plans as she says it would leave millions of people in their 40s and 50s having to revise their financial situation.

The Centre for Ageing Better said the increase would “plunge tens of thousands of older people into poverty every year”.

Work and Pensions Minister Mel Stride is opposed to the rise in pension age
Work and Pensions Minister Mel Stride is opposed to the rise in pension age

Adding that the planned changes “should not be rushed” after its analysis showed the number of 65-year-olds living in poverty more than doubled in the two years after the process to increase the state pension age to 66 began.

Dennis Reed, director of campaign group Silver Voices, also noted there is “no justification” for any rises in the state pension “at the current time or indeed in the next decade”.

He said life expectancy is no longer rising, meaning the previous defence for increasing the pension age “no longer holds”.