Britons could be given ‘earlier access’ to payments in Jeremy Hunt Budget

Britons could be given “earlier access” to state pension payments in next month’s Spring Budget, an expert has speculated.

Analysts are forecasting Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may introduce pension reform to woo voters ahead of the expected General Election later this year.

One of the ideas being suggested is allowing those unable to work access to their state pension entitlement before reaching the official state pension age.

As it stands, the state pension age is 66 and this is expected to rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028, with another hike expected by 2046.

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Experts are exploring what pension reform could be introduced in Jeremy Hunt’s upcoming Budget


Becky O’Connor, the director of Public Affairs at PensionBee, said she thought Mr Hunt and the Conservatives are likely to be feeling generous in 2024 given a General Election is expected this year.

She explained this means the upcoming Budget is “far more likely” to contain “headline-grabbing giveaways than painful tax grabs”.

Ms O’Connor added: “When it comes to the state pension, the Government has already committed to maintaining the triple lock guarantee and given the extent to which this benefits older voters, it seems unlikely that a much called-for review of the triple lock would be initiated now.

“It is possible that calls for earlier access to the state pension for those unable to continue working to state pension age might receive some attention, following the State Pension Age Review 2023, which highlighted the case for this, as this would be a popular move.

“It might also pave the way to further changes to the state pension designed to make it more sustainable.”

This proposal for “earlier access” was originally floated by Baroness Neville-Rolfe in the State Pension Age Review last year.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe was asked to determine “whether it remains right for there to be a fixed proportion of adult life people should, on average, expect to spend over state pension age”.

Organisations, including Age UK in 2022, have suggested allowing people to access their state pension early should be an option on the table.

Pension Update

Britons could get ‘earlier access’ to state pension payments


The charity stated: “We believe there should continue to be a single state pension age, but consideration should be given to providing early access in certain limited specific situations where people are close to state pension age (e.g. three years away) and have no realistic prospect of returning to work due to ill health or long term caring responsibilities.”

Policymakers are already being urged to consider reform of the state pension triple lock, which is the metric used to determine annual rate hikes, due to the cost on the public purse.

Earlier this month, The Longevity Centre recommended raising the state pension age to 71 by 2050 to help cover the funding.

However, retirement experts have warned this could plunge older households vulnerable to the cost of living further into poverty.

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