‘Labour’s state pension promise is bad for the country - a U-turn is needed’, writes Patrick O’Donnell

‘Labour’s state pension promise is bad for the country - a U-turn is needed’, writes Patrick O’Donnell

Sunak accuses Labour of hitting pensioners with tax after tax

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 12/05/2024

- 04:00

Updated: 13/05/2024

- 16:36

Labour has made a dramatic state pension promise it is unlikely to keep… and it shouldn’t, writes Patrick O’Donnell

Britons are rightfully concerned about their retirement future and the Labour Party is hoping to relieve their concern ahead of the next General Election.

Sir Keir Starmer is hoping to secure more of the pensioner vote later this year but voters should be wary about trusting the Official Opposition’s promises.

Earlier this week, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves confirmed her party would not raise the state pension age when it likely returns to power.

Reeves described the proposal to hike the retirement age threshold earlier than planned as not “justifiable” during a phone-in interview with LBC.

She said: “What you’d need to see for any further increases in the state pension age is life expectancy increasing and sadly it’s going backwards at the moment, but also healthy life expectancy, and sadly that is also going back at the moment.

“So I don’t think there’s any justification for further increases in the state pension age.”

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Rachel Reeves at event and older man looking confused at letter

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised Labour will not raise the state pension age sooner than expected


This comes after both Labour and the Conservatives have publicly pledged to keep the triple lock, the metric used to determine the annual state pension rate hike.

While this may sound good on paper, politicians need to be honest about the cost on the public purse by keeping the state pension status quo as it is.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that spending on the retirement benefit will lie within a range of £5billion to £45billion by 2050.

For the Shadow Chancellor to commit to not raising the state pension age with these estimates is alarming.

There is no feasible way to prepare for future Budgets when pension expenditure can balloon dramatically within the space of the year.

During the cost of living crisis, state pension payments jumped by over 10 per cent thanks to the UK experiencing historic high levels of inflation.

Money for the state pension comes from current taxpayers of working-age, a generation who are unlikely to get the same state pension their parents and grandparents have.

Pensioners deserve financial support and the cost of living crisis has been tough on millions of older households.

However, that should never be at the expense of the retirement prospects of future generations.

The state pension age is already set to jump from 66 to 67 in 2028, and then to 68 by the mid-2040s.

However, experts have suggested that it should be hiked to 70 by 2024 to balance the books.

Labour has made an effort to return to the centre ground of British politics with “common sense” policies likely to be part of their agenda in power.


Couple planning for retirement amid state pension age changesThe state pension age has risen to 66 and further changes lie ahead GETTY

The left wing party has faced scrutiny over its stances on the welfare state and public spending in the past. It should not get a pass on spending just because it sounds like it suits pensioner.s

U-turns have become a staple of Starmer’s time in power so pensioners should prepare to be thrown under the bus.

From ceasefires in Gaza to the nationalisation of public services, there are few policies the “new” Labour has kept in place to the ire of the party’s base and the confusion of swing voters.

Despite this track record, a U-turn on this state pension age pledge would be most welcome and signal Labour’s seriousness about getting the country back on track after years of mismanagement.

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