People’s definitions of what it means to be ‘old’ have changed. For a lot of people, being ‘old’ is a state of mind related to health and the ability to remain independent
The Committee found that the concept of ‘cliff-edge’ retirement, where people go from full-time work to full-time retirement at a set age, needs to change.
The Government and employers need to work to end ‘cliff-edge’ retirement, by enabling more people to work part-time and to wind down work and take up pensions flexibly. It should be beneficial to defer taking state and private pensions. Employers need to be much more positive about employing older people. The Government should publicly reject the ‘lump of labour fallacy’ that wrongly argues this will disadvantage the young.
We must abandon the idea of a fixed retirement age implicit in many pension structures, employment practices, and tax and benefit thresholds: people should decide for themselves how and when they retire. Incentives in the tax, benefit and pensions systems to retire early should be reviewed.
Employers should help older people adapt, re-skill, and move to more suitable roles and hours when they want to do so, and should support those with caring responsibilities for older people to work part-time or flexibly.
The Government should, with employers, help support those in manual or low-skilled jobs, who might need to work longer but have most difficulty in doing so. Welfare to work policies should also address the needs of older people.
Age is no longer a good indicator of people’s needs or income, so the Government should review whether age alone is a sensible determinant for tax liability, access to services or benefits.