Thursday 11 February 2021
Normal Minimum Pension Age: Consultation
The normal minimum pension age is the minimum age at which most pension savers can access their pensions without incurring an unauthorised payments tax charge (unless they are taking their pension due to ill health). The normal minimum pension age is currently age 55. This minimum helps to ensure that tax relieved pension savings are used to provide an income, or funds on which an individual can draw, in later life. In 2010 the minimum pension age was increased from age 50 to 55. In 2014, the coalition Government announced that the normal minimum pension age would increase from age 55 to 57 in 2028.
Since the normal minimum pension age was introduced, life expectancy at birth for both men and women has continued to increase, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. It has continued to increase since the announcement in 2014. Increasing the normal minimum pension age reflects increases in longevity and changing expectations of how long we will remain in work and in retirement. Raising the normal minimum pension age to age 57 could encourage individuals to save longer for their retirement, and so help ensure that individuals will have financial security in later life.
The Government therefore reconfirm their intention to legislate to increase the normal minimum pension age to age 57 on 6 April 2028 and are today publishing a consultation on how to implement the increase. The consultation is available at
The increase to age 57 will not apply to those who are members of the firefighters, police and armed forces public service pension schemes. This reflects the unique nature of these occupations. The consultation also sets out the proposed protection regime for some other pension savers. The Government do not intend for this increase to apply to individuals who already have unqualified rights to take a pension at an earlier age. Protected pension ages will be specific to an individual as a member of a particular scheme, so protection will not apply to other schemes where there is no existing right held.
People in the UK are living longer, and the proportion of over-50s in the labour force is continuing to increase. The Government recognise the importance of supporting over 50s to remain active in the labour market and are committed to supporting them to find and retain employment. The Government are working with employers via the business champion for older workers to enable over-50s to retain employment and are aiming to provide early and targeted employment and skills support to help individuals move back into work, including into new sectors.
This consultation on implementing the increase in normal minimum pension age will run for 10 weeks.
Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations: External Scrutiny Team Report
I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report into the condition of the reserves and delivery of the future reserves 2020 programme compiled by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations external scrutiny team. I am most grateful to the team for their work and I will respond to the report shortly.
The attachment can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2021-02-11/HCWS779/.
Intelligence and Security Committees Northern Ireland-related Terrorism Report
On 5 October 2020, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) published its report entitled “Northern Ireland-Related Terrorism” (NIRT). Our thoughts remain with those who have been impacted by the enduring threat of violence in Northern Ireland, in particular the friends and families of those who have lost their lives.
Today, the Government are publishing their response to this report.
I remain grateful to the Intelligence and Security Committee for its continued independent oversight and scrutiny. I would like to thank the former Committee for their work in the last Parliament, and I look forward to working with the appointed Committee in the future.
Copies of the Government responses have been laid before both Houses.
Light Dues 2021-22
A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.
The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving safety standards.
Light dues, which are paid by the shipping industry such that the General Lighthouse Authority’s costs are met without the need to call on the UK Exchequer, have reduced by 40% in real terms since 2010.
The unprecedented covid-19 pandemic has, however, added additional operational costs and resulted in a significant reduction in light dues income reflecting the major impact it has also had on the industry.
To ensure the General Lighthouse Authorities have the funding they need to complete their vital maritime safety work I have, therefore, made the difficult decision to increase the light dues rate by one penny to 38.5p per net registered tonne for 2021-22.
Light dues will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.