Hartlepool MP slams ‘work until you drop’ proposal to raise pension age to 75

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill says men in the town would face working almost until they die if the retirement age was raised.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 5:45 pm
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank, headed by Tory former leader Iain Duncan-Smith, said evidence suggests the UK is not responding to the needs and potential of an ageing workforce with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50-64 deemed 'economically inactive'. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

An independent think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, has suggested increasing the state pension age to 75 by 2035.

It is in response to people living longer and the demands that puts on social and health care services coupled with a fall in birth rates.

But Mr Hill says people in the North East currently have the lowest life expectancy in the UK at 77.9 years for men.

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He said: “In Hartlepool it’s even worse with the figure standing at 76.1 years for men and 81.4 for women compared to the national average of 83.1 years.

“People work hard all their lives and deserve a decent and long retirement; this proposal simply won’t deliver that for pensioners in Hartlepool and the North East.

“Health professionals and other authorities are working hard to improve life expectancy in the town, but as it currently stands this means that rather than enjoying the benefits of a longer retirement under these proposals, the average male in Hartlepool will practically end up working until they die.”

Mr Hill added pensioners are already disadvantaged as the UK has the lowest state pension of any economically developed country and on average is around 29% of what individuals previously earned. In the Netherlands its 80%.

“If medical progress means we are having our elderly with us for longer then that’s a cost the state will have to meet,” he said.

“The retirement age has already crept up for women and it would be inconceivable to envisage living in a society that expects its citizens to work until they literally drop.

“We should be looking after our pensioners during their retirement, not treating them as a burden on the state.”

The state pension age will rise to 66 for men and women in October 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

The Department for Work and Pensions has said the suggestion is not government policy and it has no plans to increase the state pension age to 75.