Snap election throwing pensions policy 'up in the air', ex-minister warns


The prospect of an early general election will throw pensions policy up in the air, according to a former government minister.

Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now director of policy at Royal London, believes an imminent election probably means the notion of imposing an "aggressive" timetable around the state pension age is off the table for now.

The Government is due to respond to a recent independent review of the state pension age.

Former CBI director-general John Cridland, who was appointed as the Government's independent reviewer of state pension age last year, said the state pension age should increase from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039.

Pension experts said if the recommendations are taken up, people in their 40s face their state pension age being pushed back a year.

They warned those in their 30s and younger may eventually face the possibility of drawing their pension at 70.

The report, which focuses on state pension age arrangements beyond 2028, will help inform the Government's review of the state pension age, due in May.

The review also recommended that the triple-lock is withdrawn in the next Parliament.

The Conservative Government has committed to keeping the triple-lock guarantee that increases the state pension by a certain, guaranteed amount, during the current Parliament.

Labour has vowed that the triple-lock will be protected up until 2025.

The triple-lock mechanism guarantees that the state pension increases annually by the highest measure out of average wages, inflation, or 2.5%.

Sir Steve said an early election "throws pensions policy up in the air".

He said: "The Government has a legal duty to respond to the recently completed review of the state pension age by May 7 2017.

"The prospect of an imminent election probably means an aggressive timetable with 20-somethings working into their 70s is off the table for now.

"The triple lock on the state pension must now be up for grabs. But the Conservatives face a tricky choice, now that Labour has pledged to retain the triple-lock."

Sir Steve continued: "A key question is whether the parties will have time to put detailed plans in their manifestos or whether we will get vague promises of reviews with all the detailed work done after the election."