David Cameron forced to clarify retirement age proposals
David Cameron returns to the Midland Hotel with Theresa May, after taking part in television interviews ahead of the second day of the Conservative party conference in Manchester.
David Cameron today said that he would take action to stop women’s retirement age rising too quickly as he clarified Tory proposals to make people work until the age of 66 in a bid to cut Britain’s budget deficit.
The Conservative leader said he hoped to get all-party support for the plan, which would save an estimated £13bn and which would affect all men and women under the age of 58.
Last night, the Tories unveiled their proposal – which would involve implementing existing government plans to raise the pension age from 2016, instead of 2026 as planned. George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, will give further details when he addresses the Conservative conference later this morning.
But analysts immediately spotted a problem. The government is raising the pension age for women, to bring it up to the pension age for men, but this process will not be complete until 2020. Initially, it seemed that the Tory plan could result in the pension age for women rising from 63 to 66 in a single year.
This morning, in an interview on Radio 4′s Today programme, Cameron said that although the party wanted to raise the pension age 10 years early, it would conduct a review first before taking final decision.
Cameron said that Lord Turner, who conducted the review that led to the government’s original plans to increase the pension age, now accepted that his recommendations should have been “more ambitious”. Turner “recognises that life expectancy has gone up”, Cameron said.
Cameron said he wanted the review to examine “how best to provide a proper glide path to synchronising the two pension ages”. When asked about the pension age for women rising from 63 to 66 in one year, Cameron said: “A jump like that is out of the question, clearly.”
The Tory leader said he hoped that “all parties will come behind us and say that this is an important thing to do”. He stressed that 2016 was the earliest date at which he would like to raise the pension age to 66, suggesting that the review could led to the proposal being watered down.
In his speech today, Osborne will say the increase in the pension age must be implemented sooner if the government is to meet a pledge for the next parliament to restore the basic state pension link with earnings, as opposed to prices.
“This is another one of those …