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20/08/2019 - 'Work till you drop' is the message of Tory Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan SmithA think tank headed by former work and pensions secretary and Tory Iain Duncan Smith (pictured) has called for the state pension age (SPA) be raised to 75.

The Centre of Social Justice (CSJ) released the report yesterday suggesting that the government speeds up the increase in SPA to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2035 to “help boost the UK economy.”

The change would hit hundreds of thousands of people currently aged 50 to 64.

The CSJ’s report, Ageing Confidently: Supporting an ageing workforce claims that working into your 70s would prevent “state dependence, social marginalisation and personal destitution.”

Jan Shortt, of the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), said that the policy would be detrimental to vulnerable groups and those who have had physically demanding or insecure jobs.

She said: “Some individuals at 70 would elect to remain in work as it suits them. However, for other individuals who are not so fit and healthy, forcing them to stay in work is not an option.

“For many, work has made them ill or disabled. If they are unable to fulfill their job role, very often the employer has no option but to let them go on capability grounds or redundancy.

“We already know that the largest age group of unemployed is those over 65 – and they are too young to claim their state pension, and deemed too old by many employers for a job.

“Many will not have an occupational pension to rely on whilst they are waiting to qualify for their state pension.

“They are on the merry-go-round of claiming universal credit and having to go through hoops to prove they are looking for work. This is not how a society should act in the 21st century.”

She warned that making people work longer would have the potential to make individuals “less able to hold down employment.”

The proposal would make things worse for younger generations, as changes made in 2016 already require them to work longer while paying more in national insurance (NI) contributions until they reach pension age, Ms Shortt also said.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented:

"It's worrying that Duncan Smith is behind these proposals as he is close to Boris Johnson - he was Campaign Chairman for Boris Johnson's Tory Leadership Campaign."

"It amazes me that some still have not grasped that AI and Robotics will reduce the need for human labour. We need to consider how to share the wealth in these circumstances. Perhaps through a Citizens Income. Denying a pension till later when there are going to be fewer jobs to fill is both cruel and impractical. Of course many in receipt of a pension might wish to continue working part-time or flexible hours if that's available. That's a choice they should be able to make without coercing them by cutting off a source of income."

Retirees currently receive £168.60 per week in state pension after paying NI contributions for a minimum of 35 years.