Public lose faith that they'll ever get state pension

Seven in ten don't trust government to be fair

close up portrait of a senior...

Fewer than a third of people believe that the state pension will be as generous when they retire, with more than half saying they don't trust the current government to treat them fairly.

A survey from pensions and insurance firm Aegon UK has revealed that a third think it will still exist, but at a lower level, while 10% don't believe they'll get a state pension at all.

The firm's Retirement Readiness Survey indicates that a staggering 70% of people don't trust the current government to strike a fair balance between pensioners and those of working age.

Currently, the pension 'triple lock' guarantees rises every year by whichever is the highest of either price inflation, earnings growth or 2.5%.

While there have been huge spending cuts on other areas, the triple lock has been maintained. However, in the run-up to the EU referendum, the government indicated that it might not be affordable if the UK were to leave.

"This assertion was made on the basis that the economy would take a downturn and that public spending might not be able to sustain the expense of this policy," says Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"The state pension is expensive, costing around £90 billion a year; it is a very big slice of the DWP budget so any changes to the state pension could involve substantial savings."

There have, though, been other big changes in the pension landscape over the last few years. The previous two state pensions have been combined into one, and the state pension age has increased.

"Against a backdrop of almost continuous reform, it's perhaps not surprising that just a third of people believe the state pension will be as generous when they come to retire. This wasn't helped by the confusion surrounding the introduction of the new flat rate state pension with many reaching retirement finding they're not entitled to the full pension of £155.65 per week," says Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon.

"In an ageing society, the state pension is always going to be an expensive benefit to maintain, but it's one we hope future governments will continue to support given that it underpins the majority of people's retirement incomes."

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