State pension age could rise to 71 by 2050, say experts

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

The UK retirement age will have to rise to 71 by 2050 in order to maintain the number of workers per retiree, according to a new report. Research by the International Longevity Centre found most of the 121 countries it looked at had rapidly ageing populations – “making it increasingly important for these governments to act to support healthy ageing”.

Its report suggested the current UK retirement age would not be enough and that anyone born after April 1970 may have to work until they are 71 before claiming their pension. The current state pension age is 66. It will rise to 67 between May 2026 and March 2028. From 2044, it is expected to rise to 68.

The recent stalling in life expectancy during the austerity years and COVID has temporarily eased the pressure for increases in state pension age beyond 67, “but longer-term the pressure will be on to increase it to 68 or 69”, the report added.

However, researchers noted that even with increases in state pension age, the growing burden of preventable ill-health “will continue to act as a key barrier for people to remain in the labour market”.

Its research suggested that a “greater focus” was needed on preventing ill-health not just in old age but from early age through adulthood.

Last week, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed the population of the UK is projected to grow from an estimated 67 million in mid-2021 to 73.7 million by mid-2036. This represents an increase of around 6.6 million, or 9.9%.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024