Belfast Telegraph

Radical overhaul of state pension unveiled

People could end up having to work into their seventies under a radical overhaul of the state pension system which is due to be unveiled.

In a series of landmark moves designed to help deal with an ageing population, the Government will announce 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 also set to rise to 66 from 2016 - nearly a decade earlier than the last Government was planning.

But ministers are to also raise the possibility of extending the pension age to 70 and even older in the following decades as the country wrestles with ever-increasing life expectancy.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the new policies were intended to "reinvigorate retirement".

He said: "People are living longer and healthier lives than ever, and the last thing we want is to lose their skills and experience from the workplace due to an arbitrary age limit.

"Now is absolutely the right time to live up to our responsibility to reform our outdated pension system and to take action where the previous government failed to do so."

He added: "If Britain is to have a stable, affordable pension system, people need to work longer, but we will reward their hard work with a decent state pension that will enable them to enjoy quality of life in their retirement.

"That is why we are issuing a call to evidence on moving the state pension age to 66, and thereafter plan to take a frank look at the relationship between state pension age and life expectancy."

Millions of workers who are not saving for retirement face being enrolled in company schemes unless they opt out under the plans. Just over a third of people are thought to be currently saving into a private pension.