MPs and Peers commend Parliamentary Reception highlighting the power of the Saga Generations
Saga hosted their annual parliamentary reception Tuesday night, where MPs and Peers lined up to commend the work of the organisation.
The event on Tuesday evening in Parliament was filled to the brim with MPs and peers – a testament to Saga’s appeal.
The reception enjoyed cross-party sponsorship for the evening from Lord Beith, Ian Blackford MP, Damian Collins MP and Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
Conservative MP Damian Collins said Saga was a great business to have located in his constituency and also praised their support for Armed Forces charities in the constituency.
Former Conservative party chairman Lord Tebbit said the organisation was desperately important especially in light of an ever ageing population.
South Thanet’s Conservative MP, Craig Mackinlay said Saga is “very important, it's hugely regarded by the local community as a very, very good employer.”
Saga has released a new report about the future of pensions. Mr Collins welcomed the report as important, saying, “we all have to think about the policy implications of people living much longer, much healthier lives, in terms of how they support themselves financially”.
Saga has called for pension policy to evolve, and cautioned policy makers to give older people time to adjust to any changes made.
Paul Green, Saga’s communications director, said: “I also want to pay tribute to the Government for the triple lock which has lifted many pensioners out of poverty. However, we recognise there needs to be a change. So past 2020 linking pensions to a measure of pension inflation might be the best way forward.”
He said the country is experiencing a huge demographic and cultural change.
When the Beatles released ‘Will you still love me when I’m 64’ average life expectancy was just 69 and retirement for most was short lived, said Green, but today a 64 year old can expect to live another 20 or so years.
“The notion that tomorrow's generation aspire to the same type of life, or indeed retirement as their parents is simply not correct. The Saga Generations are more connected and adventurous than the world gives them credit for and are living the sort of lives that you’d expect of people half their age.”
He added: “There are also over a million people who have decided to work after 65 - which is great news because age diverse workforces perform so much better and produce far better results for the businesses.”
Green concluded: “The fact that so many over 50s retain some snap in their celery is echoed in our changing business. Whether than be changing our insurances to reflect the rise in home working, re-launching a bright new Saga Magazine, developing amazing tours along the Silk Route in Uzbekistan, or our plans to design and build a brand new ship – we are changing because our customers are changing.”
Lord Tebbit argued people who have been to university and then don’t start work until their early 20s cannot expect to retire in comfort at 65 because “they haven’t put enough in the pot”.
He told PoliticsHome: “We've got to see the pensions age rise otherwise we'll be working for too little a time and drawing our pensions for too long. That just doesn't work.”
Mr Mackinlay hinted that the triple lock on pensions may have to change as although it lifted many pensioners out of poverty, it may not be intergenerationally fair that pensioners are getting this permanent uplift whereas other benefits are not.
“I can personally foresee retail price index and salary increases being a double lock.”
Labour MP Neil Coyle agreed with the sentiment, saying: “Now we see a shift demographically and we see people who are working and doing the right thing who are still living in poverty, so I think there does need to be redress because there is an imbalance.”
Saga also called for a stamp duty break on those who wish to downsize or who want to buy age related accommodation.
Mr Green said: “We put that measure to some independent economists at the CBI and they estimated that would release about 110,000 family homes as well as boosting the availability accommodation tailored for the needs of older people.”
This idea was warmly received in the room and Lib Dem MP John Pugh told PoliticsHome this would create “real opportunity in the housing market, it certainly one that could be practically considered.”