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State pension rises are ‘irresponsible’ – IEA

Government reforms to the state pension age should go further and faster, a think tank has urged. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) labelled the recent commitment to continue to increase state pension expenditure in real terms “unaffordable and irresponsible”.

The introduction of a later retirement age should be accelerated, the IEA stated, with labour market regulations reformed to enable people to work for longer.

A new report warns that the current system is incentivising early retirement. It recommends that government increase the state pension age to 68 by 2023, and from that time onwards, link retirement with life expectancy.

Individuals should also be encouraged to save for their own retirement, with greater private pension provision.

Professor Philip Booth, editorial and programme director at the IEA, said: “The government needs to wake up to the reality of the long-term state of the public finances. People retire earlier on average today than they did in the 1960s despite huge improvements in life expectancy.

“People should have both the opportunity and incentive to continue some form of paid work into older age. Policymakers must urgently implement a coherent package of reforms, including a more rapid increase in the retirement age and a substantial reduction in employment protection legislation which is especially damaging to older people.”

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