Ross Clark Ross Clark

The retirement age should be 70

(Photo: iStock)

Remember the Waspi women, who used to leap up and down outside Tory conferences for the right to continue to retire at 60? They claimed that their carefully laid retirement plans had been thrown into disarray by the government’s decision to equalise women’s retirement age with that of men – even though they had been given two decades’ notice and their careful plans for retirement hadn’t, it seemed, quite extended to bothering to find out at what age they would retire.

The ideal should be to water down the concept of retirement altogether

The government eventually saw them off, but it is once again risking the wrath of 50 and 60 somethings – of both sexes – by threatening to bring forward the date at which the retirement age will be raised to 68. To declare a personal interest, under current plans I am due to qualify for a state pension at the age of 67 but under the proposed changes it could mean me having to work – quelle horreur! – a full extra year.

Except that I wasn’t planning to retire anyway, at any age – or at least not until I am rendered incapable by age. My inspiration comes from the Rolling Stones, still leaping about on stage in their late 70s, rather than all these librarians and pen-pushers swanning off in the 50s, claiming to be too fagged out to continue any longer.

That is why I say to the government, don’t fiddle around bringing forward the time at which the retirement age will rise to 68. Go the full hog and jack it up to 70 immediately. The retirement age is hopelessly out of date. Seventy was the age at which workers could claim the old age pension when it was introduced in 1908 – at which time life expectancy at birth was 51 for men and 55 for women.

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