Oh dear, I think a UKIP pension policy is a good idea

General Election 2015 campaign - April 11th
General Election 2015 campaign - April 11th

It's not often that I stop and think that UKIP might be onto something but after reading through the party manifesto I have to admit their state pension policy has peaked my interest.

To summarise UKIP's pension policies, they're pretty happy with how everything is progressing at the moment, they like pension freedom and the single-tier state pension. But where they really shake things up is around the state pension age.

Calculate your pension income options

We all know the age at which you can collect your state pension is on the up as we all live longer. The pension age for men and women is already being equalise to 65 and from 2020 both will have a state pension age of 66, rising to 67 by 2028 and linked to life expectancy after that. The way longevity is going, it won't be long until we hit 70 (if there's any state pension left by then – but that's another story).

UKIP is proposing a flexible state pension 'window' that will give pensioners access to their state pension earlier but at a lower weekly rate – although no earlier than age 65.

It says in its manifesto: 'At the moment you can delay taking your state pension in return for a slightly higher amount, so UKIP's proposal merely extends the option in the other direction.'

You can't argue with that. He's right, it works perfectly well one way so why shouldn't it work the other.

Calculate your pension income options

Critics could say we'll have a rush of people taking early retirement at 65 and the state won't be able to shoulder the cost but time and time again, surveys have shown the majority of retirees want to keep on working, at least part-time. I can't see a mad rush for people to get their state pension early if they don't need to retire.

Manual workers

However, allowing access at age 65 would provide a lifeline for those who do need to retire earlier. Although there is much talk of improving life expectancy and the ability to work for many more years than generations before us, there is a glaring omission: what about people who do manual jobs they are no longer physically capable of doing in older age?

There are plenty of builders lugging bricks and care workers moving care home residents that will not be able to do so when they are in their late 60s. What do we expect these people to live on?

Much as I hate to admit it, UKIP has what looks like the beginning of a solution to that problem.

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