“Yesterday we announced the appointment of John Cridland to lead an independent review of the state pension age. The review will make recommendations for the Government to consider to ensure the future state pension age is fair and affordable in the long term. The review will report by May 2017. I want to stress that the review is independently led and evidence-led. It will be evidence put forward to John Cridland to consider in his important considerations about the state pension. The review will consider changes in life expectancy, as well as wider changes in society.
It is also useful at this point to remind the House why this kind of review is necessary. In 1945, a man, for example, retiring at 65 had a life expectancy of between 60 and 63. Men rose from 14.27 years in retirement after their pension age to 27 years under the present forecast and existing timescales, and women have gone from 18 years in retirement after their pensionable age to 29.5 years in retirement.
Future generations will rightly expect that we reflect those changes in how we set the pension. It is right that pensions should reflect these changes in life expectancy. Future generations will not thank us if we do nothing and do not have the courage to ensure pensions are sustainable to avoid them picking up the bill.
I want to make clear what this review is not. It will not cover the existing state pension age timetable up to April 2028. We have already provided legislation for this, and the review will not look to change the state pension age up to this point. The Labour Government first legislated for state pension rises beyond 65, but without any commitment to an independent review. When we brought forward the Pensions Bill in 2013, Labour seemed to have a change of heart. They agreed with us about the need for a regular independent review of the state pension age. The shadow Secretary of State at the time, the honourable Member for Birmingham Hodge Hill, said:
So, that is what we are doing. Under that legislation, we are required to appoint an independent reviewer who will make recommendations to him on future state pension age arrangements. We have appointed John Cridland to lead this work. Under the legislation, we are required to report in 2017 on this, and that is what we will do.
This review is part of the Government’s reforms to pensions to ensure they are affordable for the long term. But it is right that we recognise those who have reached their pension age, who have worked hard, done the right thing and provided for their families. We are delivering for them. As a result of our triple lock, pensioners will be receiving a basic state pension over £1,100 higher a year than they were at the start of the last Parliament. We are providing greater security, more choice and dignity for people in retirement, while also ensuring the system is sustainable for the future”.