The increase in women’s state pension age could force mothers and daughters to withdraw the free, informal care they give the UK’s rapidly ageing population, a paper has warned.
The report, titled Should I Care or Should I Work? The Impact of Work on Informal Care, says this family care must be urgently replaced by significant increases in state spending otherwise families will have to exhaust their savings buying care privately. For families who cannot find or afford to buy in care, however, older relatives’ lives will be put in danger, the authors say.
Researchers from three European universities used data from the Office for National Statistics and the UK Household Longitudinal Study to criticise the government’s recent decision to increase the female state pension age (SPA) by up to six years, with further pension reforms being reviewed by the government. The move is, they found, exacerbating what experts had described even before the changes to SPA as a perfect storm of limited financial resources, significant workforce challenges and increasingly complex population needs.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “The government has launched the second State Pension Age Review. This, as previous reviews have done, will consider whether the rules around State Pension age are appropriate, based on a wide range of evidence, including latest life expectancy data and two independent reports.”