Personal Finance

DWP state pensions by postcode: Experts weigh in on the risks of reform


Analysts have weighed up the pros and cons of varying the for Britons by geographical region.

spoke to several experts about the idea with some saying the policy change could make the system fairer, with easier access for poorer areas, but there were concerns it could be soon as arbitrary and could worsen inequality.

Emanuele Visintin, owner and operational director at Direct Payroll Services, said: “There is merit to the concept of people from different areas retiring at different ages, depending on local lifestyles and resources.

“For example, wealthier parts of the country may require a higher state pension age to offset individuals’ easy access to private retirement funds.

“On the other hand, less privileged areas may require a lower state pension age so that older workers facing financial hardship are able to retire at a somewhat reasonable age, and without worry.”

But he warned the policy could also be seen as discriminatory. He explained: “This proposed change in pension policy could result in individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds being devalued, leading to a wider gulf in wealth disparity.

“A system like this would require a lot of impartial oversight to ensure that mandates are being carried out fairly, with everyone being given appropriate consideration.”

Branson Knowles, head of Top Mobile Banks, said having differentiated state pension ages could be a “pragmatic” way to make the system fairer.

He said: On the surface, geographic differentiation of pension ages elegantly aligns retirement eligibility to the true lifespans and needs of local populations.

“However, the approach risks oversimplifying complex socioeconomic factors down to mere geography. While location shapes lives, so do race, class, occupation, education, and more. Policymakers should beware of falling into the trap of determinism.”

Mr Knowles said one alternative to state pension age by region would be a personalised state pension age. He explained: “By assessing individuals holistically—careers, lifestyles, health, and family—optimal retirement timing emerges.

“Big data analytics and AI may enable such customization. But risks abound. Algorithms inherit our biases.

“So transparency is critical, as is recourse. The ideal system empowers people with choice, control, and flexibility. One-size-fits-all policies fail to capture life’s complexity—for better or worse, our fates cannot be reduced to formulas.”

Andrew Gosselin, senior editor at The Calculator Site, warned that choosing how to divide the regions could be “politically contentious”.

He said: “More affluent regions may argue they are unfairly penalized by having to wait longer. Administering varied pension ages would also add bureaucracy and costs to the system.

“Frequent testing and adjustments would be needed to reflect changing regional trends. It could also incentivise migration from poorer areas if pension ages diverge too widely.

“I believe the geographical divisions would need to balance existing health and demographic data with projections for future shifts in inequality.

“In my opinion, statistical cluster analysis by factors like life expectancy, health, unemployment, education, and income could help determine boundaries.”

Mr Visintin said a varied state pension age would also need to incorporate considerations such as healthcare and employment opportunities.

He said: “Local life expectancy rates also need to be reassessed on a semi-regular basis.

“Individual circumstances might also play a role in such a system, with industry-specific challenges being taken into account, such as caring responsibilities or the toll of physical labour.

“In the end, a personalised approach could be exactly what is needed, although the individual assessment process would no doubt take time.”

Mr Gosselin also put forward the idea of having different state pension ages tied to specific occupations rather than by region.

He said: “Manual laborers in strained industries could qualify earlier, whether they are located in affluent or deprived areas.

“This targets support based on employment conditions rather than making geographical generalizations, from my perspective.

“A holistic strategy equally emphasizing health, skills training, and employment support is also advised over piecemeal pension age changes. As the old proverb says, prevention is better than cure.

“Overall, differentiating pension ages by region has benefits for tackling inequality but also substantial administrative and political challenges.

“A focus on tailored employment support and improving healthy life expectancy for all may be a fairer, more effective approach.”

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