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United Kingdom to accelerate state pension age rise
August 20 2017, 02:05 | Alonzo Simpson
GETTYThe state pension age will rise to 68- seven years earlier than expected
The U.K. government on Wednesday said the state pension age will rise to 68 during the period 2037-2039, rather than in 2046 as originally proposed.
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke told MPs the Government was accepting the recommendation made in the Cridland review earlier this year. At the same time, people are living longer, and a person reaching the current pensionable age of 65 this year can expect to live for another 22.8 years, compared with 13.5 years in 1948. But from 2010, the retirement age for women was bought into line with men.
The government said there is a balance to be struck between funding pensions while also ensuring fairness for taxpayers in the coming years.
He said: 'When the evidence in front of us shows that life expectancy will continue to increase a little over one year every eight years that pass, fixing the state pension age at 66, as advocated by the party opposite, demonstrates a complete failure to appreciate the situation in front of us'.
I would like to see more flexibility in state pension age: perhaps with a flexible band of ages at which the pension could start, or perhaps allowing people to take their state pension at a lower age, either because they are seriously ill or because they have worked for more than 50 years.
Shadow pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams condemned the Government's "slash and burn" policies on social security, which she said would hit older people, particularly those facing health problems in later life.
Here in Ireland, the age at which people can access the state pension is 66, but will be increased to 67 by 2021, and to 68 by 2028.
The Scottish National Party's depute leader in Westminster Kirsty Blackman said the announcement had been held back until after the election as it would have cost the Conservatives votes.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said it was "astonishing that this is being announced the day after new authoritative research suggested that the long-term improvement in life expectancy is stalling". "It is yet another chapter in the Tory Government's hit on people already struggling due to this Government's austerity-driven agenda".
"The government simply had to grasp the nettle on state pension reform. Without this decision people of working age would have faced a heavy tax burden".
"A decent retirement is a right for us all, not a privilege for the few". Individuals who can work flexibly in later life can achieve higher lifetime incomes, can boost overall economic activity, and could have more money to spend in their advanced older age.
The state pension is now £159.55 a week for those qualified to receive the full amount.
The changes mirror the timetable set out by John Cridland in March 2017, which proposed bringing forward the increase in State Pension age to 68 between 2037 and 2039.
"This is the double bite of austerity - workers are expected to work longer and could now be at risk of dying sooner".