Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was urged to lower the pension age in order to boost the UK’s economic recovery. State pension age is currently set at 66, however, a new petition on the official Parliament website has called for a reconsideration of this matter. The petition is entitled: “Move the state pension age back to 60 for both men and women”.
It urges action on the age at which people become eligible to receive payments, particularly due to the pandemic.
The petition said: “Young people are struggling to find work and losing their jobs, due to the pandemic.
“Why not allow older people to retire earlier, thereby freeing up jobs for young people?
“There would be a cost, however surely a far more positive cost than paying Universal Credit?
“Not to mention the option of restoring the balance back into young people’s favour and helping restore their future.”
However, a pensions expert at Aegon, Steve Cameron, has told Express.co.uk that this is unlikely to happen.
He said: “I think that it would be highly unlikely the government would reduce the pension age. Despite the pandemic, life expectancy will not have suffered due to the pandemic.
“Going forward, life expectancy should continue to go up and therefore it is reasonable the state pension age goes up. It has just gone up to 66 and it is due to go up to 67 in 2028 and then to 68 in 2034.
“And I suppose the only thing that might happen is the government may defer those future increases, but I certainly don’t think they will bring the age back down again.
“The younger the state pension is, the longer people need a state pension for and the more costly it is for people of working age.”
Another major talking point in recent weeks has been the pension triple lock potentially being scrapped.
Reports have suggested Mr Sunak could temporarily break the pension triple lock this year in order to prevent the Treasury from being landed with a £3billion uprating bill.
Mr Sunak hinted at a change last week as the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that a post-lockdown surge in pay growth will result in the state pension going up by eight percent next April.
The pension triple lock being preserved was a 2019 Conservative Party manifesto pledge, so a suspension could provoke anger from some.
Mr Cameron added: “I would be surprised if Rishi Sunak isn’t at least considering making changes to the triple lock.
“I think he will want to stick to the spirit of the triple lock, so I don’t think for a minute he will scrap it entirely.”
The Telegraph revealed last month that Treasury officials were looking at three major reforms to how pension contributions are taxed to cover heightened pandemic spending.
But there was push-back from some senior Tories to the ideas being pursued, in a reflection of how politically challenging major pensions reforms would prove.
One minister with an economic brief stressed that Conservatives should be encouraging people to put into their pension pots rather than making changes that could discourage it.
The source told The Telegraph: “Anything to do with pensions, because it’s such a long-term gain, we have to proceed with caution. If we do anything radical you need to build consensus across Parliament.”