State pension age would be reduced to 65 under new manifesto pledge: 'Decent retirement for all!'

Older couple shocked

A leading union is calling for the state pension to be reduced to 65

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 10/06/2024

- 14:35

Updated: 10/06/2024

- 14:40

Currently, the state pension age is set to be raised to 67 in a few years' time but Unite is pushing for the retirement benefit's age threshold to be slashed instead

The state pension age must be reduced to 65 years old to ensure "a decent retirement for all", according to one of the country's biggest unions.

Unite, which represents over a million workers across 19 different sectors, has published a manifesto urging politicians to listen to the needs of its retired members.

Among the recommended changes include introducing a compensation payout for Waspi women, reintroducing defined benefit retirement plans and lowering the state pension age.

The latter is Unite's most radical position and comes amid calls to raise the official retirement age further to save the taxpayer money and cut spending on pensions.

As it stands, the state pension age is 66 years old and is expected to reach 67 sometime between 2026-28.

Another hike to 68 is expected to take place during 2044-46 but experts are warning the age threshold would need to be raised to 71 by 2050 to maintain the "status quo".

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The union is lobbying to secure commitments from the major political parties based on this manifesto before next month's General Election.

Both the Conservative Party and Labour are attempting to woo older voters before the British public head to the polls on July 4.

As it stands, both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer have pledged to keep the triple lock on state pensions, which determines the annual rate hike for payments.

The Tories have gone a step further and promised to implement the "triple lock plus", which raises the tax-free allowance on pensions, but neither party has made any commitment to reducing the age someone is allowed to claim state pension payments.

Here is a full list of all the proposals included in Unite's "A Decent Retirement for All" manifesto ahead of the General Election next month:

  • Maintain the triple lock
  • Reduce the state pension age to 65
  • A decent state pension for all
  • Compensation for Waspi women
  • Re-open defined benefit pension schemes
  • Protect the NHS
  • A publicly-run, publicly-funded national care service
  • Defend and extend key benefits
  • Publicly-run bus and rail services
  • Save and restore community assets
  • Tackle digital exclusion.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham emphasised the difficulties retired union members face and called on politicians to address the concerns raised in the "retirement" manifesto.

She explained: “Workers throughout the UK live in fear and uncertainty about their old age because pensions are not enough to live on and our health and care services are crumbling.


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“Unite’s ‘Decent Retirement for All’ manifesto sets out a vision to transform this.

"As the country looks for change in a new government, Unite will be asking politicians to commit to our manifesto to help workers secure the long, healthy and dignified retirements they deserve.”

Already, both Labour and the Tories have come under fire from the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign for failing to put forward a compensation proposal to help women born in the 1950s.

Earlier this year, an investigation found the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guilty of "maladministration" in its handling of historic changes to the state pension age which detrimentally affected millions of women across the UK.

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