Call for Evidence
The Economic Affairs Committee has decided to conduct
an inquiry into aspects of the economics of an ageing population,
and in particular to consider (i) length of working life; (ii)
women; and (iii) fundamentals of pension policy.
Evidence is invited by 1 March 2003.
The Committee will need to discover the basic factual
position, including the extent to which the UK's population is
ageing and how the UK compares with other countries in this regard.
The Committee welcomes written submissions which
address any or all of the following:
1. To what extent is the UK's population ageing?
What effect will this phenomenon have on the supply of labour
and capital, wages, interest rates, asset prices (especially housing)
and productivity? How do the relevant facts vary by gender and
2. How might policy reverse the recent trend
towards early retirement? Should legislation to outlaw age discrimination
be introduced? Would it work? Should there be a statutory retirement
age? Can the labour market absorb more older workers? To what
extent do people choose when to retire?
3. Why do people not save enough for retirement?
How might they be encouraged to do so? What new products could
the financial services industry offer to support retirement income
and to influence retirement decisions?
4. Why are most pensioners who live in poverty
women? How might public policy provide for people (mostly women)
who cannot make regular and continuous contributions to a pension
scheme throughout their working life? What responsibilities do
private-sector financial product providers have?
5. What is the role of the basic state pension
and does it fulfil that role? How is pension policy influenced
by ideology, short-term political considerations, the need to
produce consensus and the need to protect existing benefits?
6. How should the following objectives of pension
provision be prioritised in formulating pensions policy: adequacy,
fairness, protecting incentives, affordability, certainty, simplicity,
transparency, practicality and choice? What are the trade-offs?
7. Is it appropriate to have as an explicit policy
objective the reduction of public spending on pensions as a proportion
of GDP? What is the role and relevance of (i) the institutional
framework; (ii) fiscal policy; (iii) regulatory requirements?
8. What effect do means-tested benefits for pensioners
have on work and saving incentives? Are there any people for whom
zero or low saving is the appropriate economic response to their
9. Is the continuing trend away from public and
towards private provision economically sustainable? How are we
to determine the best public/private balance?