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Duncan Smith advocates change to the pension age

The age at which people can claim their state pension may be changed to rise in line with increases to life expectancy.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the state pension age could in future be indexed to increase in line with changes to longevity projections, as is the case in Denmark.

In an interview with the Spectator magazine, he said it was "an absolute imperative to start moving the retirement age up".

The Government announced in the Queen's Speech earlier this week that it planned to review the current timetable for increasing the state pension age.

Under current legislation, the age at which people can claim their state pension is due to increase to 66 between 2024 and 2026, followed by two further increases at 10-year intervals to raise it to 68 by 2046.

But it is understood that the new Government thinks this may not be quick enough, particularly in the current economic climate. The Department for Work and Pensions has pointed out that since the timetable was first published, the Office for National Statistics has issued revised life expectancy projections.

These show that a man who turns 65 in 2020 is expected to live for a further 22.4 years on average, up from previous assumptions that he would live for another 20.9 years, upon which the increase to the state pension age was based.

It is thought that one of the things the Government review will consider is whether in future the state pension age should rise automatically in line with longevity projections.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "Ultimately, governments should head to that sort of process."