Study Suggests Britons Need to Work Until Age 71 to Secure Pension Balance

Study Suggests Britons Need to Work Until Age 71 to Secure Pension Balance

British workers may need to extend their working years in order to maintain their pensions. By 2050, the International Longevity Center in the United Kingdom (ILCUK) anticipates that the retirement age will need to be increased to 71 to sustain the state pension system.

Countries, including the UK, that feature high on the research center’s Healthy Aging Index, are experiencing a rapid increase in their aging population. This implies that the proportion of individuals within the working age bracket (15 to 64 years) is diminishing.

The study suggests that the UK should raise the retirement age to either 70 or 71, up from the current 66, to maintain the equilibrium of working individuals per retiree receiving a state pension. The majority of British retirees receive both a public pension, currently up to 203.85 pounds (or 238 euros) per week, and a private pension.

At present, the public retirement age in the UK is 66, with plans to raise it to 67 between 2026 and 2028, and to 68 from 2044. As a point of comparison, in France, the legal retirement age was recently increased from 62 to 64.

However, while increased working years can be a solution, the report points out that research indicates only 50% of adults are capable of working past the age of 70.

The ILCUK researchers encourage the government to prioritize prevention of ill health among not just older individuals, but also those of working age. This comes in light of the rise in the number of people unable to work due to chronic illnesses since the pandemic.

If UK citizens begin experiencing health issues earlier in life, the study warns that the problem could be more serious as it would further reduce the number of workers contributing to the system.

A shrinking workforce leads to severe labor shortages that are often filled by migrant labor. However, the authors highlight that this is not a long-term solution and could negatively affect both the origin and destination countries socially and economically.

Brexit’s implementation in 2021 has made it extremely challenging for hundreds of thousands of workers from the European Union to migrate to the UK. The study also states that the recent decrease in life expectancy due to austerity policies in the 2010s and Covid-19 has provided temporary relief to the system, but the pressure remains in the long run.