A new report released yesterday by Oxford University’s Institute for Ageing looked at a “dataset of the anonymised pension records of 1.7 million people” to suggest policy alternatives for Britain’s state pension system.   According to the researchers, the current increases to the pension age planned by the government will not be able to keep up with increasing life expectancy in the United Kingdom.  They thus conclude that the United Kingdom’s “current state pension system will become ‘unsustainable’ unless older people work for longer and the state pension age is raised.”

Researchers also found that the data used in the report suggests that: “[t]here is a strong correlation between low wealth and shorter life expectancy in the UK,” and that factors such as health, wealth, occupation and lifestyle can affect a person’s overall life expectancy. They also note  that “[t]he impact of universal increases in the state pension age is felt hardest by those who rely on the benefit the most.”  They thus conclude that Britain “cannot hope to have a fair system based on the present one size fits all retirement age”  and propose that the United Kingdom  “adopt a flexible approach in which retirement age is linked to factors such as healthy life expectancy or lifetime earning.”

The researchers suggest the  Office of National Satistics’ ‘healthy’ life expectancy (HLE) measure,  which indicates the length of time an individual remains healthy, as a good index against which to set the pension age.  They write: “[s]etting the state pension age based on this measure would offer a more relevant and fairer measure than increases in total life expectancy. It would also better reflect the potential economic pool of labour available.”

Share your thoughts on this proposal with IAHSA.  Can such a proposal be implemented in your country?  What steps would be needed to ensure that it is implemented fairly?

For more information:

The Financial Times

Oxford’s Institute on Ageing

Full Report

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