Retiring at 67

The report of the Turner commission is expected to recommend that the state pensionable age be increased to 67 to pay for a higher state pension. This meets with very lukewarm support from the public in a new ICM poll in Tuesday’s Guardian – only 36% support increasing the pensionable age, with 59% saying they would rather stick to the present age even if it means lower pensions.

Opinions differ between different age groups – amongst under 24s a majority (51%) of people support a retirement age of 67, but 66% of those aged between 35-65 oppose it. So, while there is much opposition to an increase in the retirement age, with the opposition to the change strongest amongst those who are the soonest to retire the government may be able to negate much of it by phasing in an increase over a long period of time.

Looking at various other reforms which have been suggested, people are happy with a new opt-out pension scheme – i.e. a national pension scheme to which everyone in work automatically pays into, unless they specifically chose not to. This was supported by 77% compared to 17% against.

When it comes to compulsory schemes people are less positive…depending on who the compulsion falls upon. If employers are compelled to pay into a pension scheme for their employees people are overwhelmingly in favour by 82% to 17%. If, on the other hand, employees themselves are compelled to pay into pension scheme, support falls to only 48%, with 48% against.

Finally ICM asked whether increases in the state pension should be linked to increases in average earnings, rather than inflation, even if this meant increases in taxation. 63% said yes, 34% said no. Once again there was a clear age difference – amongst retired people and those over the age of 35 around two-thirds of people supported linking the pension to earnings. Amongst under 24s, support was significantly lower at only 45%.

The polls also has voting intention figures – the topline figures, with changes from last month, are CON 33%(nc), LAB 38%(+2), LD 19%(-3)