Calls for early access to state pensionwritten by Bella Palmer
Quilter called on the government to consult on flexible state retirement benefits
The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) and Age UK have called on the government to provide early access to the state pension for those within three years of their state pension age who are unlikely to be able to work again due to caring responsibilities, a disability, or long-term joblessness caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Financial Planner and wealth manager Quilter welcomed the call for flexibility but warned that protections need to be in place such as a requirement to consult a financial adviser before accessing the state pension earlier. The wealth manager also called on the government to consult on flexible state retirement benefits.
The new report from the PPI said that in the five years between 2012 and 2017, the difference in life expectancy between the most deprived and least deprived individuals (men and women) grew by 8%.
Unemployment amongst those close to retirement has risen sharply during the pandemic. According to the Office for National Statistics, in the three months to September 2020 there were over 340,000 aged 50 to 64 who were unemployed, an unemployment rate of 3.6%. This represents an increase of around 85,000 over the quarter.
The report from the PPI also highlighted that for those on the lowest incomes, even before the pandemic, many were struggling to make it to the state pension age.
Ian Browne, pension expert at Quilter, said: The pandemic has revealed numerous gaps in our society and policymaking over the past months and some are still beginning to emerge. Today Age UK and the Pension Policy Institute have highlighted the widening inequality between the rich and poor in later life. It would be remiss to dismiss this as specific to the situation created by Covid-19 and thus simply fixed by the vaccine.
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