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Government's pension age rise 'appalling'

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is to announce in his 2013 Autumn Statement that more people will have to work longer before drawing a pension.

The date at which the pension age of 68 comes into force is being brought forward, from 2046 to sometime in the 2030s, which means it will affect people now in their 40s, or younger.

Shiv Malik, the author of "Jilted Generation: How Britain has Bankrupted its Youth", said: "This is part of a package of measures that the current and previous governments have heaped upon this cohort of people born after 1980.

"Student fees have tripled, housing costs are the highest since 1945, [the public has] suffered from declining wages, benefits have been slashed and now we face working for even longer," he continued.

"It's better to have been born in 1955 than 1995 and that is appalling."

Dr Ros Altmann, a pension expert who has advised the government, disagreed.

"There's a bit of exaggeration and confused thinking, the state pension age was set at 65 in the 1940s… the vast majority of people retiring now left school at 15 or 16 and so by age 65 will have worked for 50 years."

"Young people now, who on average start work at 21 and will retire at 71 will also work on average 50 years," she added.

In response to a question on other countries' pension policies, she said that "the situation in the rest of Europe is completely unsustainable" and that for the current older generation in the UK, "living on a state pension for 30 years is not a good lifestyle".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 5 December 2013.

  • 05 Dec 2013