While tens of thousands of SMEs will be facing auto-enrolment staging dates in 2014, with many Umbrella Companies amongst them, the state pension age is going to rise to 68 much earlier than originally planned.

The chancellor will announce in his autumn statement that the age will rise to 68 in the mid-2030s and to 69 in the 2040s; everyone currently aged 49 or younger will be affected. A government source gave the following statement: “This is part of the government’s long-term plan to secure a responsible recovery. It is a difficult decision to make sure there is a fair deal across future generations and that the country can live within its means. It will help make sure the country can offer people decent pensions in their old age in a way that, with increasing life expectancy, the country can also afford.”

The announcement means that existing plans to raise the state pension age to 68 in 2046 and to 69 before 2050 will be brought forward by at least ten years. The government is, it seems, seeking to show that it remains resolute in its commitment to making tough decisions to cut the deficit.

Mr Osborne is also expected to announce free school meals for all children under the age of seven and a £50 cut in average energy bills. These measures are aimed at clawing back some of the terrain recently gained by Labour, which has argued that most people are not reaping the benefits of the improving economy because of rising prices and flatlining wages.

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