YOUNG Wigan workers will have to wait until they are 70 before they retire, under new government plans.
And today the local reaction to the news was generally negative with unions and pensioners’ groups fearing that due to shorter life expectancies, the borough’s future older population will miss out as they will not enjoy the pension for as long as others in more affluent areas,
In a desperate bid to offer decent pensions and cope with the rise in the older population, chancellor George Osborne revealed that instead of the age rising from 65 to 68 in 2046, it will be brought forward to the mid-2030s.
This could rise again to 69 in the late 2040s, meaning people now in their 20s may have to work until they are 70.
Mr Osborne said that this was needed as the welfare state cannot cope with the rise in life expectancy and the disproportionate numbers of pensioners.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there will be more than 16m pensioners in 2037, a 30 per cent increase on 12.3m last year, which is largely due to improved health care.
In Wigan, men are expected to live until 77, with women being 80.8, but the national figures show boys born between 2010 and 2012 can expect to live for 79 years and girls for 82.8 years.
John Mcardle, spokesman for Age UK Wigan Borough, said: “This will cause people in Wigan to change their plans. Raising the age is going to exacerbate some of the deeply intrenched issues of poverty.
“People who are in poor health will now be forced to remain in work for longer, when they would wish to retire,
We already know there are massive differences between life expectancy in Wigan and more affluent areas and income is a significant factor in longevity.
“We still have an under-funded state pension system and people will still be in poverty.”
A UNISON spokesman said: “It is good people do not have to retire when they reach a certain age, but they can already do that, as there is no compulsory retirement age.
“This change will mean that people who do not want to work into old age won’t be able to afford not to. It’s not right that people in physically demanding roles like healthcare or manual work have to keep working due to economic necessity, and it could be damaging for the quality of services to the public.
“This change will also affect people who are not fit enough to work into old age. They will have to be supported for longer by some other form of state benefit.”