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Shock: Labour minister talks sense Nov 23

John Hutton has today been promoting the government’s new pensions package, a follow-up to Lord Turner’s report earlier this year, which will increase the state pension age from 65 to 68.

The retirment age was set at a time when life expectancies were much lower than they are now. The idea that once you hit 65 you’ve “done your bit”, “paid your stamp” and are entitled to thirty years of leisure at the state’s expense is a nonsense. The system simply wasn’t designed to cope with today’s longevity, and just as we expect young people to work if they can, it’s reasonable to expect 65-year-olds to stay at work for a few more years if they’re still spritely. The alternative is for a generation whch has spent decades keeping taxes relatively low to then force high taxes on their children in order to give themselves a comfortable retirement – although in practice, because of the long lead time for this change, the baby boomers will benefit from the current state pension age anyway.

So John Hutton is entitled to a quote:

“As unpopular as it may be to talk about working longer – the simple fact is that if we aren’t prepared to increase the state pension age, we will simply pass an ever greater and frankly unsustainable burden on to our children and grandchildren.”

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