The government has extended the retirement age to 68, a move that will force millions of workers in the UK to work an extra year before retiring.
The State Pension age will increase to 68 between 2037 and 2039. It had been due to rise by a year – from the current age of 67 – in 2044.
The change will affect everyone born between 6th April 1970 and 5th April 1978.
Making the announcement, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Gauke said: “Since 1948 the State Pension has been an important part of society, providing financial security to all in later life. As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of State Pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations.
“Combined with our pension reforms that are helping more people than ever save into a private pension and reducing pensioner poverty to a near record low, these changes will give people the certainty they need to plan ahead for retirement.”
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said failing to act now in light of compelling evidence of demographic pressures would be irresponsible and place an unfair burden on younger generations. Keeping the State Pension age at 66 would cost over £250 billion more than the government’s preferred timetable by 2045/46.
According to pensions experts, the change will affect more than six million people. The change will also leave anyone aged 47 or younger having to work for an extra 12 months before they can claim their state pension.
The announcement was strongly criticized by Debbie Abrahams, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, terming it “an astonishing continuation of austerity”.
She added: “We cannot allow this Government to push people to work longer and longer to pay for its failed austerity agenda. That’s why Labour will leave the state pension age at 66, while we look again at the emerging evidence, with a view to guaranteeing a secure and healthy retirement for the many, not just the few.”
TUC criticised the announcement saying the pension age hike risked creating second-class citizens.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Hiking the State Pension age risks creating second-class citizens. In large parts of the country, the state pension age will be higher than healthy life expectancy. And low paid workers at risk of insecurity in their working lives will now face greater insecurity in old age too.
“A decent retirement is a right for us all, not a privilege for the few. Rather than hiking the pension age, the government must do more for older workers who want to keep working and paying taxes. Workplaces and working patterns need to adapt to their needs.”
The government’s decision to raise the State Pension age to 68 was also criticised by Age UK. “In bringing forward a rise in the state pension age by seven years, the government is picking the pockets of everyone in their late forties and younger, despite there being no objective case in Age UK’s view to support it at this point in time,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.