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Half a million over 100 by 2066

Twenty year olds are three times more likely to reach their 100th birthdays than their grandparents and twice as likely as their parents, official figures show.

A baby born this year is almost eight times more likely to reach 100 than one born 80 years ago, according to the figures issued by the Department for Work and Pensions.

A girl born this year has a one in three chance of reaching their 100th birthday, while boys have a one in four chance.

The figures, based on predictions by the Office for National Statistics, show that in 2066 there will be at least half a million people aged over 100. The statistics highlight the increased pressure on the country's finances, with Pensions Minister Steve Webb warning Britons will need to save more.

Mr Webb said: "These figures show just how great the differences in life expectancy between generations really are. The dramatic speed at which life expectancy is changing means that we need to radically rethink our perceptions about our later lives.

"We simply can't look to our grandparents' experience of retirement as a model for our own. We will live longer and we will have to save more."

Earlier this week, Lord McFall of Alcluith, former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, published a report warning the country's pensions system was in "urgent need" of improvement if millions of workers in private firms are to save enough for retirement.

Lord McFall said the spotlight for reform had rightly fallen on public sector pensions, but he added there were "critical problems" in private firms as well. He said: "Too many people are stuck in a complex, costly and inefficient system that relegates the consumer's interest to second place. On top of that, they simply aren't saving enough to secure a decent retirement.

"People need to get more bang for their buck, or they're not going to bother with a pension. Instead they'll end up spending today, ignoring tomorrow, and scraping by in poverty on the state pension. We cannot stand by and let that happen. The complacency of many in the pensions industry is alarming."

Last month, public sector union leaders rounded on the Government for releasing details of its controversial pension reforms mid-way through crucial talks. Under the changes, nurses and classroom teachers earning £25,700 will pay an extra £10 a month for their pension in 2012/13, an NHS consultant on £130,000 will pay an extra £152 a month, while civil servants will see their contributions rise by between £20 and £140 a month.


From Belfast Telegraph