John Cridland’s report is also expected to examine the effect of abolishing the pensions 'triple lock'
John Cridland’s report is also expected to examine the effect of abolishing the pensions 'triple lock' © Getty

A review of the UK’s state pension system will advise against letting people who are ill, or who have had longer working lives, draw their pension early.

There is currently no flexibility for the state pension to be claimed before age 63 for women and 65 for men, rising to 65 for both by late 2018.

Early access to the state pension was an option considered by John Cridland, who conducted a year-long independent review of the state pension age beyond 2028 for the UK government.

But Mr Cridland’s report, to be published this week, is expected to recommend against more flexible pension access, because of the complexity involved.

Instead, he is expected to suggest the government maintains the universal state pension age but gives more support to groups, such as carers, who are particularly affected by the rising age threshold.

Ros Altmann, a former pensions minister, said: “It is disappointing that there will not be flexibility in the state pension age access.

“The system makes no allowance for differential life expectancies across the regions of the UK and no allowance for different industrial occupational work experience.”

An interim report published by Mr Cridland last year noted life expectancy for those in the highest socio-economic groups was nearly six years greater than those in the lowest.

Others also suggested to Mr Cridland that early pension access should be offered to those with longer working lives, such as those who began working at age 16 rather than after university.

“Because national insurance is such a significant proportion of salary, it seems socially inequitable to lock out those people who we know have shorter life expectancy by continually raising the state pension access age,” said Baroness Altmann.

But Steve Webb, former pensions minister and now director of policy at insurance company Royal London, said he supported the current arrangements.

“Having different pension ages for different groups or in different postcodes would create a nightmare of complexity and fresh injustices,” he said.

“But the interim report rightly highlighted the fact that particular groups such as carers are adversely affected when pension ages rise, and it is to be hoped that any concrete ideas in the final report for mitigations are acted upon.”

Mr Cridland’s report is also expected to examine the effect of abolishing the “triple lock”, which guarantees the state pension will rise each year by the highest of three measures — inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.

Scrapping the triple lock, which the Conservatives have promised to keep until 2020, was identified in his interim report as a way of slowing state pension age rises.

Mr Cridland, a former director-general of the CBI, the employers’ organisation, was asked in March last year to make recommendations on a suitable state pension age, with affordability, fairness and longer working lives in mind.

His recommendations will not affect the state pension age before April 2028, when it is due to reach 67.

Under the current timetable it is scheduled to rise to 68 from 2044 to 2046. The interim report, published in October, suggested that based on the latest life expectancy figures, this rise should be completed five years earlier, by 2041.

The government is expected to publish its response to the recommendations by May.

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