Planned increases in retirement ages for older people will lead to higher unemployment, a depletion of their savings, massive reliance on means-tested benefits and more financial and personal hardship, according to a new book from a London School of Economics academic.
Forcing individuals to work later in life, when their health status may not permit it, will cause a deterioration in health while more years of enforced, benefit-supported idleness towards the end of a life may exacerbate existing mental health problems says John Macnicol, Visiting Professor in Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science in his new book Neoliberalising Old Age.
Both of these scenarios will increase National Health Service expenditure he argues, and the government should enforce quotas of older age workers if it is serious about getting this cohort into the workforce.
Macnicol says: “Forcing people to work later in life when there are no jobs for them may prove to be the ultimate form of ageism.”
“If working later in life is really so important to the physical and mental well-being of older people, as governments have been arguing, then they should be accorded special status via affirmative action in hiring and retention – with age-based employment quotas for older people and/or employment subsidies.”
Macnicol’s 15 issues with UK state pension
1. Future pensioners will be asked to pay five years extra National Insurance contributions, get a state pension that is less than they could earn under the current system and be forced to work longer before they can draw it.
2. There is a £29 billion surplus in the National Insurance Fund, mostly created by pensioners some say we can’t afford to ‘feather bed’.
3. The full new single state pension is expected to be around £151.25 per week. This is a maximum figure that, sadly, as many as 4 out of 5 pensioners won’t receive. Since the scheme is designed to be “cost neutral”, methodologically there have to be ‘losers’.
4. Don’t save more than £6,000 for retirement if you think you may be made redundant or without paid work between the ages of 60 & 67 & need to claim job seekers benefits or its successor Universal Credit.
5. After 40+ years of private pensions, the average income from private/occupational pensions and annuities in the UK is still only £8,641 per household.
6. The value of the state pension has declined since 1980 – it fell from 26% of average earnings in the late 1970s to 16% now.
7. Though the UK is the 6th-richest country in the world, we have one of the worst state pensions in terms of replacement rates.
8. Contrary to claims otherwise, ONS projects the proportion of UK population aged 65+ to shrink down to around 21 per cent – about what it is in Germany now – and Germany is held up as an economic example to us all.
9. This ageing of the UK population has been caused much more by the size of age cohorts – both birth cohorts and adult cohorts swelled by immigration – than by any longevity life expectancy gains.
10. Of those aged 65+ who live alone, 70 per cent are women. In 2012/13 the average gross income for a single woman pensioner was £298 per week.
11. Your state pension will entitle you to live in poverty – especially if you are a woman.
12. All parties move the goal posts pensions & pension promises are regularly broken. Current changes policy could result in a state pension age of 66 being established between 2018 and 2020, 67 between 2026 and 2028, 68 by the mid-2030s and even a suggested 69 by the late 2040s. At this rate of increase, a child born today would not receive a state pension until age 77.
13. Britain is best at increasing the retirement age – only four European countries plan to raise the retirement age by 2050.
14. Though the government, economists and actuaries can’t predict the jobs and skills required in 2055, they apparently already know they can’t afford your pensions.
15. The private pensions industry has always sought to shape state pensions policy in Britain, and successive governments have been overwilling to listen to it.