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More than one-in-three back state pension early access

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell
  • More than one-in-three people aged between 50 and state pension age (66) would consider taking their state pension early at a lower rate if the option was offered, new research reveals
  • The Government has faced calls in some quarters to provide more flexibility in the state pension system to make it fairer for those with lower life expectancies
  • However, allowing people to access the state pension early would create extra complexity and potentially lead to a short-term drain on Treasury finances
  • The full flat-rate state pension is currently worth £179.60 per week, while the basic state pension pays £137.60 per week

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, (pictured) comments: “Increases in the state pension age – particularly those that affected 1950s-born women – have been hugely controversial in recent years and sparked debate about the fairness of the current system.

“In particular, significant differences in life expectancy in different parts of the country have led to concerns the least well off are losing out. For example, according to official data someone born in Blackpool can expect to live, on average, a decade less than someone born in Westminster.

“Allowing early state pension access at a reduced rate would potentially help address this unfairness. What’s more it could be popular, with more than a third of people aged 50 to 66, the current UK state pension age, saying they would consider this if it was offered as an option by the Government. Offering this option could also be cost neutral for the Treasury over the long-term.

“However, enabling early access would add extra complexity to the system and might result in people choosing to get their state pension as early as they can, without considering the impact on their retirement plans over the longer-term.

“This could also have implications for the Treasury, which would potentially face a short-term cashflow problem if lots of people decided to take their state pension before age 66.”

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