COMMENT: If you thought Universal Credit was unpopular...what about raising the pension age?

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IT is a controversial suggestion, and that is putting it mildly. The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has recommended the government raise the state pension age to 75 by 2035 in a bid to boost the economy.  

There are some stories that most people will have a strong opinion on, and this is certainly one of them.

In its new Ageing Confidently report, the CSJ (founded by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith) said hiking the pension age would reflect the fact people are generally living longer and unlock the economic potential of the nation’s ageing population.

Though the suggested rise is only a proposal and should not be confused with legitimate government policy, it comes from the same think tank that set out the blueprint for Universal Credit in 2009.

And we know the criticisms that has faced!

The fact the CSJ’s latest idea has even been mooted is enough to stir the emotions. People are already highly concerned.

Steve Bonner, chairman of the Pompey Pensioners group, is totally against such a move.

‘This suggested increase is something we will be campaigning against,’ he said. ‘The majority of people probably wouldn’t survive until 75 in work – especially if they they work in a physical job.’

He added: ‘Raising the state pension age to 75 could also lead to a struggle for younger people to find jobs and I think it’s trying to fuel a non-existent war between young and old.’

There is a lot of sense in those words, for sure.

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan, meanwhile, insists any hike would ‘decimate the plans and dreams of thousands of people across the nation’.

‘The notion that state pension age should be raised to boost our economy is both morally repugnant and an insult to the generation to whom we all owe so much.’

There will be many who see a lot of sense in those words, too.