He’s only gone and done it again! Influential Conservative MP – and former leader – Iain Duncan Smith has come up with another one of his bright ideas. Not content with cocking up the welfare system with the introduction of his shambolic Universal Credit, he is now proposing that the state pension age be raised to 75. That’s not a typo – the Tories are considering raising the retirement age to seventy-five years old!
The average man in Tameside will live to the age of 77, so that would mean the average male Tamesider would get just 2 years to enjoy their retirement (in Denton South in my constituency it would be a mere 4 months). Women in our borough fare a little better with an average life expectancy of 81 years, but even this would only allow you 6 years of retirement.
Some areas have even lower life expectancies – with a retirement age of 75, the average Glaswegian man would die 3 and a half years before he could stop working. Even in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – playground of the super-rich and the place with the highest life expectancy in the country – the average man would have just 8 years to enjoy his retirement.
Of course, the reality is that the vast majority of the very wealthy in Kensington and beyond wouldn’t work until they’re 75. They have excellent private pensions and great wealth to draw on and will continue to retire in their 50s and 60s. It’s ordinary working people in Tameside and elsewhere who will be forced to work until they drop.
And let’s be clear – working until you drop is exactly what is being proposed here. This vision of Tory dystopia makes me shudder – it’s not somewhere where I want to live and I doubt many of you reading this would be keen either.
For me, retirement should be a time to relax and enjoy yourself after four or five decades of hard work – time to spend with family and friends, discover new hobbies or travel to new places. Many of us look forward to all the things that we will be able to do when we’ve retired – this change would take all of that away.
The government already has a poor record when it comes to state pension age increases and I suggest that they take some time to learn from the injustices that have faced the WASPI women before they stumble into another catastrophe.
Raising the retirement age to 75 – at a time when life expectancy is actually dropping for the first time in decades – is a monumentally stupid idea and I’d strongly encourage the Tories to go back to the drawing board.