HC Deb 23 January 2003 vol 398 c429W
Lynne Jones

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of further savings that will be made if the rules of public service pension schemes are changed so that new members receive an unreduced pension from age 65. [91084]

Ruth Kelly

As noted in Cm 5677, "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement", the Government envisages that the higher pension age might be introduced in most schemes as part of a package of changes to pension arrangements. This would allow for improvements to benefits which employers and staff value and have a positive impact on staff recruitment and retention, including greater flexibility in the transition from work to retirement, and help the financial sustainability of public service pension schemes. Also, while it is envisaged that the new pension packages will be introduced for new employees, the Government will also be consulting on how and to what timescale the higher pension age and any associated enhancement to benefits could be extended to existing employees while protecting rights already accrued. Against that background there are too many uncertainties to give estimates of any likely net costs or savings and these will only become available as proposals are worked up for individual public services after full consultation with staff representatives. The effects of increasing pension ages would also vary considerably from scheme to scheme and build up gradually over time.