Belfast Telegraph

Pension age rise 'every five years'

The retirement age could rise every five years under legislation being considered by the Government, it has been reported.

Higher levels of life expectancy would result in an automatic increase in the age at which pensions are paid, according to The Times. It quoted an "insider" at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) saying that the Government did not want to "revisit this issue year by year".

The report, described as "speculation" by a DWP spokeswoman, came after controversial plans to extend the pension age were unveiled by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. They included the possibility of people having to work until they were 70 before receiving the benefit.

Ministers were accused by unions of making people "work until they drop" as well as attacking the poorest members of society.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "We need to recognise that to meet the challenge of providing an affordable, stable pensions system in a society with ever increasing life expectancy, people will need to work longer."

The Government put forward plans to scrap the default retirement age which allows employers to get rid of staff when they reach the age of 65.

The state pension age for men is set to rise from 65 to 66 from 2016 - nearly a decade earlier than the last government was planning, while ministers also raised the possibility of extending the pension age to 70 and even older in the following decades to "reinvigorate retirement".

The Government called for evidence about the right point at which the state pension age should rise to 66 for both men and women.

Unions reacted with fury, accusing the Government of showing its "class bias" just weeks after gaining power. But business groups were more supportive, with John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, saying: "With people living longer than ever, we all need to save more for old age and find ways for people to extend their working lives.

"Removing the default retirement age and right to request working beyond 65 would cause significant practical problems for employers. Both companies and staff benefit from having a clear framework for the timing of retirement."