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State pension age to be reviewed every five years

Middle aged couple
Image caption Any rises in state pension age beyond 67 will now be reviewed every five years

The state pension age will be reviewed every five years, pensions minister Steve Webb has said.

Introducing a White Paper on a single-tier state pension, he said the first such review would take place under the next government, in 2017.

As longevity continues to increase, the aim will be to maintain the proportion of people's lives spent in retirement.

Under current law, the state pension age will rise to 66 for both men and women between 2018 and 2020.

As previously announced by the coalition government, the law will now be changed again so that the state pension age increases further, to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Although the state pension age is already scheduled under existing law to rise once more, to 68 by 2046, this target will now be subsumed in the forthcoming five-yearly reviews.

"The government will carry out a review of the state pension age every five years, based around the principle that people should maintain a specific proportion of adult life receiving the state pension," said the White Paper.

"This will be informed both by analysis of life expectancy projections by the Government Actuary's Department and by a report from an independently-led body on wider factors that should be taken into account when setting state pension age, such as variations in life expectancy."

This means that further increases beyond 67 will not, as the government has previously suggested, be automatic if longevity rises.

Conceivably there will be no further rises at all if, in fact, life expectancy stops rising.

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