Britain eyes pushing retirement age to 66 faster

24th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain is to accelerate plans to raise the retirement age for men to 66, possibly by 2016, the government announced Thursday.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party announced plans to "reinvigorate" Britain's pensions system.

"Britain used to have a pensions system to be proud of," said Duncan Smith, a member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party, which won May elections and former a coalition with the third-placed Liberal Democrats.

"But due to years of neglect and inaction we are left with fewer people saving into a pension every year and the value of the state pension has been eroded, leaving millions in poverty.

Under the new plans, the retirement age could rise further, perhaps to 70 and beyond within the next few decades, while the government plans to do away with the default retirement age of 65, at which workers can be legally axed.

The previous government of Labour premier Gordon Brown planned to raise the retirement age for men to 66 in 2024, and then gradually to 68 by 2046, but Duncan Smith -- a former Conservative party leader -- said this was not enough.

"We must live up to our responsibility to reinvigorate the pension landscape," he said.

"People are living longer and healthier lives than ever, and the last thing we want is to lose their talent and enthusiasm from the workplace due to an arbitrary age limit," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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