Can the UK afford its pension system?

23 November 2012

The House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change will next week quiz witnesses on the sustainability of the current funding model for pensions and personal care, and explore the changes needed to meet the challenges of an ageing population. In a second evidence session, the Committee will hear from planning and design experts and a finance sector representative about whether enough is being done to make services user-friendly for older people.

The Committee will take evidence in two sessions on Tuesday 27 November in Committee Room 2A of the House of Lords. 

The first session will start at 9:45am. The Committee will question:

  • Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General, the SAGA Group;
  • Richard Humphries, Senior Fellow, Social Care and Local Government, The King’s Fund;
  • Joanne Segars OBE, Chief Executive, National Association of Pension Funds; and
  • Professor Noel Whiteside, Professor of Comparative Public Policy, University of Warwick.

With these witnesses, the Committee will cover issues such as whether people due to retire in 10-20 years can look forward to adequate pensions; what can be done to encourage people to save more for retirement; whether the pension and benefits system should be changed to enable people to work longer; and whether the social care funding recommendations from the Dilnot Commission would do enough to address the funding needs of poorer pensioners.

The second session will start at 11:15am, when the Committee will quiz:

  • Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage Policy, the Building Societies Association;
  • Nick Leon, Head of Service Design, The Royal College of Art;
  • Dr Lynne Mitchell, Senior Research Fellow, WISE (Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments) research unit, University of Warwick; and
  • Len Street OBE, Former Chair, the University of the Third Age (U3A).

In the session the Committee will explore how designers and urban planners can address the needs of an ageing population; what older people want from retirement; whether the market and society need to change the way they perceive older consumers, and what the government’s role should be in this; and how the financial services industry is preparing for an ageing consumer base. 

The evidence session will be webcast live at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

Subscribe to Lords newsletter

Sign up for the House of Lords newsletter for the latest news, debates and business