Does the spring 2023 UK budget help our seniors?
The When They Get Older roundup of expert comment
Getting older workers back to work – and retaining those who are already there
Over 50s are to be offered special apprenticeships – dubbed ‘returnerships’ – and ‘midlife MOTs’, reports ITV News. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Parliament that the over 50s should not be considered older so much as ‘experienced’. The apprenticeships will bring together existing skills programmes, but focus on flexibility and experience to reduce training time. The midlife MOT is a review of finances, skills and health to help those in the 40s and 50s plan for retirement. The MOTS have previously been delivered online privately and to over 50s receiving Universal Credit.
The Centre for Ageing Better says that there is promise in some of the measures announced, but there need to be more policies specifically tailored to the needs of older workers. It does however welcome the scrapping of the Work Capability Assessment, which could enable more people to get help and access work – but this has to connect with those who are not engaged currently in employment support though.
The cap on pension taxes
The FT considers the removal of the lifetime allowance charge of 55% on pensions over the £1.073m lifetime limit. It’s a big shock, says the FT, and may not achieve its goal of keeping higher earners in work for longer. Instead, says a finance expert, it may enable higher earners to save pension pots faster and retire earlier. The FT also points out that considering the average pension pot of a 65-year-old is £87,500, unlimited lifetime pension savings and a £60,000 annual pension allowance ‘may fee’ out of touch’. What may help more people is the change to the little-mentioned money purchase annual allowance (MPAA), as it can help people who return to work to boost their pensions.
Health and social care
While the removal of the pension cap won’t affect the vast majority of older people directly, it could see a fall in the number of doctors retiring early. GP Online heralds the news as a ‘big win’ for retention of doctors, as it will ‘effectively close the floodgates’ and keep more senior doctors in the NHS workforce.
A roundtable of academic comment on the budget at The Conversation remarked that there was nothing else in the budget to address the current crisis in the NHS.
Social care wasn’t on the agenda, reports Homecare Insight, despite pleas from the industry.
The Centre for Ageing Better welcomes the postponement of an increase in the Energy Price Guarantee, as this will potentially save households an additional £160 over 3 months.
There has been plenty of reporting of the opening up, in stages, of free childcare, to extend the number of free childcare hours provided, and the range of ages to be covered. While this isn’t a direct benefit to older people, it could mean that parents of young children need to rely on grandparents less for childcare.
Not making the headlines is the the Government’s plan make saving with its savings arm NS&I more attractive. That could mean raising savings rates, says Money.com.
Want to know more?
- The BBC has a podcast of its Money Box Live Budget Day Special.
- com offers a roundup of the key announcements and further detail in other stories
Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash