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State pension age should rise to 75, Tory think tank report says

19th August 2019 11:50

Stephen Little from interactive investor

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The report claims raising the state pension age would boost the economy and improve the health of older workers

The state pension age should be raised to 75 within the next 16 years to help boost the economy, according to a Conservative think tank.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), headed by former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith, has proposed the state pension age should rise to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035.

The influential think-tank says today’s older people are healthier than ever before and living longer.

It argues the UK is “not responding to the needs and potential of an ageing workforce”, with millions of people over 50 seen as “economically inactive”.

It says an ageing society presents significant challenges to the UK economy with greater demand for public services and increasing state pension costs raising questions about the “sustainability of our social security system.”

The Ageing Confidently: Supporting an ageing workforce report recommends helping older people to access the benefits of work through flexible working and increased access to training opportunities.

The current state pension age is due to increase to 67 by 2028 and to 68 by 2039.

The CSJ says that faster increases in pension age would reduce benefits costs and help boost the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The think tank says: “Removing barriers for older people to remain in work has the potential to contribute greatly to the health of individuals and the affordability of public services.

“Therefore, this paper argues for significant improvements in the support for older workers.

"This includes improved healthcare support, increased access to flexible working, better opportunities for training, an employer-led ‘Mid-life MOT’ and the implementation of an ‘Age Confident’ scheme.”

Baroness Altmann, the Conservative peer and former pensions minister, was deeply critical of the proposals.

She tweeted: “This would be an utter disgrace. It must not happen. The concept of pension age is out of date and makes no allowance for those who can’t keep working.”

Andy Cook, chief executive of the CSJ, says: “Right now, we are not doing enough to help older people stay in work and the state pension age doesn’t even closely reflect healthy working life expectancy.

“By increasing the state pension age, we can help people stay in gainful and life-enhancing employment while also making a sound long-term financial decision.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson says: “Everyone’s state pension age is unique to them and in 2017 we raised the future retirement age to 68 so that it is sustainable now and for future generations. We’re creating opportunities for people of all generations with record employment.”

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Moneywise, which ceased publication in August 2020.

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