LONDON – Britain accelerated plans to increase the pension age Wednesday, as rising life expectancy continues to put pressure on the public purse.
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke announced the change in the House of Commons, pointing out that paying for pensions for longer presents a challenge for the government.
Under the plans, the pension age rises from 67 to 68 during a two-year period starting 2037. Under current rules, the increase had originally been set to take place between 2044 and 2046.
“As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of state pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations,” Gauke said.
The government said there is a balance to be struck between funding pensions while also ensuring fairness for taxpayers in the coming years.
The agency says the number of people over state pension age is expected to grow by a third between 2017 and 2042, from 12.4 million in 2017 to 16.9 million in 2042.
Tom McPhail, the head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said people will have time to plan.
“For anyone yet to reach age 47, there is still time to adjust their retirement plans by looking to contribute more or look to change where they invest,” he said. “We feel it is important the government meets them halfway; we need a national savings strategy to help people save and invest for their future.”