“Increase in older women at work will cause health problems”

Raising the UK state pension age to 68 may not be viable unless public health is improved, a leading economist says
Raising the UK state pension age to 68 may not be viable unless public health is improved, a leading economist says

The increase in older working-age women in the workforce will create health problems for employers, a leading economist has warned.

Mark Pearson, a senior analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), argued in The Daily Mail in December that raising the UK state pension age to 68, as the Government plans, may not be viable unless public health is improved.

“Frankly, our population is not healthy enough to work that long. When you actually look at the health status of people between 60 and 70, you see a very rapid decline in the UK,” he said.

“We are talking about a pension age of 68 and we almost certainly do not have the health to make that viable,” he added.

He was speaking at the publication of a report on pensions by the OECD which argued that, on average, Britons retire before the current state pension ages of 65 for men and 62-and-a-half for women.

Older working-age women (aged 50 to 64) are now more likely to be in employment than at any time in the past 30 years, government figures have suggested.

The employment rate for people over 65 had also doubled over the past 30 years, from 4.9% to 10.2%, the figures from the Department for Work and Pensions said, while the proportion of people aged 70 to 74 in employment had almost doubled over the past 10 years, from 5.5% to 9.9%.

And there are growing questions around whether or not employees will even be able to afford to retire.

survey by consultancy firm Portus Consulting, for example, has suggested that two-thirds (66%) of the British working population expects to work beyond 65, with 74% arguing this will be because they will not have enough money to retire.

And a poll by insurer LV= has argued that the number of UK households that are reliant on two incomes to make ends meet has now reached 3.2 million.

Nearly half of all cohabiting couples (45%) were dependent on both incomes to pay for essentials, with one in seven (14%) couples admitting to struggling even with two salaries.

One-third (34%) said they would have to make substantial changes to their lifestyle if one partner was unable to work.

And 64% of the households surveyed had no income protection, leaving them vulnerable if one member was to become ill or injured, it added

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