The petition, currently at 56,178 signatures at the time of writing, has passed well beyond the 10,000 signature threshold needed to get a response from the Government. This triggered the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to issue a formal reply this afternoon, where it said: “Reducing it [the SPA] to 60 is neither affordable nor fair to tax payers and future generations”. If the state pension age to 66 had not taken place, the DWP states the total cost to the taxpayer would have been an additional “£215billion for the period 2010/11 to 2025/26.”
The Department said adjusting the SPA as people live to older ages is necessary to ensure generational continuity in the proportion of people’s adult lives spent in retirement.
It is argued by the petition that such a reduction would free up jobs for young people looking for work.
This is vital, the petition says, because these opportunities have been badly hampered by the pandemic.
Gwynneth Brown, the author, argues that the increased cost would be more beneficial than paying Universal Credit.
The petition is entitled “Move the State Pension age back to 60 for both men & women”.
They said that adjusting the SPA as people live to older ages is necessary to ensure generational continuity in the proportion of people’s adult lives spent in retirement.
People are spending far longer living in retirement than they used to.
When the state pension was introduced in 1948 on average a person would live under a quarter of their lives in retirement.
That figure has now climbed to a third of a person’s life in retirement.
When the proportion of adult lives spent in retirement increases, the burden on taxpayers to support their pensions becomes greater.
The next target is for the petition to reach 100,000 signatures, at which point a Parliamentary debate on the issue would be considered.
The deadline for it to reach this target is 20 October, 2021 as all petitions run for six months.
Responding to a request for comment on the petition, the DWP previously told Express.co.uk: “The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality.
“Raising state pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”
The impacts of the pandemic have been sorely felt across the whole UK economy and support measures have been implemented to mitigate hardship.
But as these measures, such as furlough, draw to a close in September many will fear redundancy and subsequently having to face fighting back into a fiercely competitive jobs market.
The petition’s proposed solution would aim to take older professionals out of the workforce to make more spaces for younger workers.
The SPA has become an increasingly controversial topic over previous decades.
The SPA used to be 65 for men and 60 for women.
In 2018 the SPA was equalised for the first time between genders meaning men and women could retire at 65.
The age has since increased to 66 and will further increase to 67 by 2028.