John Cridland, independent reviewer of the state pension age share his insights into his findings to date

John Cridland, the man in charge of reviewing the government’s plans to further increase the state pension age released his interim report last Thursday. The report is made up of 26 questions, and is open for public consultation for 12 weeks in total.

The report has been described as a “breath of fresh air” by some, and “an underwhelming report” by others.

Speaking at the PLSA annual conference, Cridland is quick to point out that he doesn’t have all the answers just yet though, it is still in the consultation stage.

John-Cridland

Sharing his insights into findings so far, Cridland asks: “Does a universal state pension increasing in line with longevity improvements best support affordability, and fuller working lives?”

He argues that looking at the main drivers of state pension expenditure, we must first decide what is most important - maintaining access to the state pension, allowing for a generous increase annually, or making the state pension more accessible for more people?

So here is the trade-off, he explains: “Do we want to prioritise access to the pension against value of the pension?

If we have the blessing of living longer, then surely we need to work longer?

“If continuing to increase the value of the pension is priority, you need to sacrifice the age at which you’re able to access it.”

“If we have the blessing of living longer, then surely we need to work longer?” he points out. “We can’t look at when the state pension age needs to be set, without looking at the cost to society.”

At 65 today, a man has 21 more years to live on average. So options for later working should be available.

Cridland highlights the need to be far more intelligent and innovative about smoothing the transition of moving to more suitable forms of work for those later in life. One suggestion he makes is for those later in their careers to transition to more training focused roles.

“Perhaps some of the 65 year old car manufacturing workers and teachers for example, can instead apply their skills to training the younger generations?”

Food for thought indeed.