Pension age increase will ‘worsen divisions’ in Britain

By staff writers
December 7, 2013

Forcing millions to work even longer, as the government proposes, will worsen age and class divides, say critics of the UK government’s plans.

Commenting on the chancellor’s announcement in the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There has been no new evidence to show that people are living any longer since the last time the Chancellor increased the state pension age, yet today’s young workers are being told they must work until they drop.”

She continued: “There are already massive inequalities in the state pension, with a woman in Corby expected to receive £67,000 less than someone in East Dorset due to widening gap in life expectancy. This pension divide will get worse as a result of this announcement.

“However many decades they work hard and contribute, tomorrow’s 69 year-olds will find themselves being sent for the future version of ATOS assessments if they can no longer work. Barely half of all men are able to work beyond the current state pension age. Raising it further will simply prolong an agonising limbo between their last job and their state pension.

“This has nothing to do with dealing with unexpected extra pension costs but is part of a long-term attack on the welfare state and the dismantling of our national insurance system,” the TUC leader concluded.

Recent TUC research found a £67,000 state pension divide due to a widening gap in life expectancies and a rising state pension age. This divide will increase as a result of today’s announcement, say critics of the government’s approach.

Further TUC research published last year found that disability and poor health are preventing nearly half a million people approaching retirement from working, a figure that will increase as the state pension age rises.

* Read the research on the state pension divide: www.tuc.org.uk/statepensiondivide

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