Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conservative proposals to reduce the deficit (part 6)

  • Review of the state pension age. We will hold a review to consider bringing forward the planned rise in the state pension age.
And now we begin to reach the scraping at the bottom of the intellectual barrel. The Turner Report proposed that the state pension age should increase to 66 by 2030, 67 by 2040 and 68 by 2050, whilst the Government decided that it should increase to 66 by 2024, 67 by 2034 and 68 by 2044 (a precis of the 2006 White Paper can be found here).

The suggestion of a 'review to consider' is just weasel words, to be frank. If you believe that increased longevity and improved health and quality of life enables those in their sixties, seventies and beyond to work on, then say so. Indeed, given Government proposals to remove the mandatory retirement age, the opportunity to address this now exists.

Offer these people a deal, work on and defer your pension, or part of it, and we'll increase the value of it when you choose to take it. The Government has an actuarial service, so there will be little extra cost, and the potential for some savings. In any event, there is already an acceptance that people can and should work longer - you might not like it but it is now a matter of consensus - so the question is whether the current proposals go far enough.

This is a timid proposal when the time is for bold ones, an attempt to demonstrate that they are willing to think the unthinkable, or at least the unpopular. Unfortunately, it falls under the category of an aspiration to be dumped as soon as the Daily Mail comes out against it. Anyone would think that they weren't really serious...

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