New stats on elderly highlights major pension challenge

By staff writers
March 23, 2014

New figures published from the Office for National Statistics at the end of last week, on the growth in the number of ‘very old’ people, illustrates Britain's pension challenge, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady says.

She declared this weekend: “It is good news that people are living longer, but the growth of the very elderly underlines the danger of the pension changes in the 2014 Budget.

“No-one can know how long they will live. What people need from a pension is a regular income in retirement that lasts as long as they live. The way to do this is to share risk between people.

“But the Chancellor is turning pensions into just another individual savings product. The worry is not so much that people will spend it all too quickly on luxury goods – though some will – but that just as many people will be too cautious to spend any of it.

“Annuities may well be broken, but the answer is not to end responsible collective risk sharing. Instead, we need to find new ways to make them work.

“The Chancellor’s talk of responsibility and choice comes straight from the 1980s – the decade that destroyed Britain’s pension system – and which we have spent the last decade trying to put right.”

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