Briefing by the Prime Minister's Spokesman on: Pensions and miscellaneous items, including the coalition agreement and the Government's consultation on spending.
Asked if the Prime Minister intended for people to work until they are 70, the Prime Minister’s Spokeswoman (PMS) said that the Pensions Secretary had this morning announced that there would be a review looking at the pension age. He was announcing a call for evidence for an internal review into the timing of the increase in state pension from 65 to 66, for both men and women. He would also be looking at how the Government could better support the implementation of the automatic enrolment into workplace pension schemes.
Asked if what had been announced today differed from what had been said before the election, the PMS said that the reason why it was being looked at now was because if there was going to be a change we needed to give good notice of that change. Also, we needed to look at what implications there would be for any future increases in retirement age, as well as taking into account new projections on life expectancy.
Asked if it was the case that people could work until 66 but equally could retire at 65 and claim their pension, the PMS said that at the moment those who wanted to retire at 65 could claim their state pension; this had not changed. We were looking at whether that age should be increased to 66, and if so, by when. If people chose to work for longer then they could, and we would consult on how quickly we could phase out the default retirement age from April 2011.
Asked if it was the case that you weren’t able to claim your state pension until the age of 66, the PMS said that would be the case if the law changed.
Asked if the intention was to change the law, the PMS said that there were two separate issues; the first issue was whether or not we would raise the state pension age from 65 to 66, and the second issue was the default retirement age. It was best to speak to the Department for Work and Pensions for the details.
Asked if it was the case that parts of the coalition agreement could be scrapped, such as free eye tests, the PMS said that the coalition document set out what had been agreed between the two parties; that was the programme for Government, and any changes would be a matter for the Government.
Asked if the Prime Minister had spoken to Fabio Capello following on from England’s win yesterday, the PMS said no, but the Prime Minister had managed to catch the second half of the match.
Asked if there was a plan to publish suggestions from public sector workers as part of the Government’s consultation on spending, the PMS said that a summary of the suggestions would be published later this year.