By Louise Nousratpour in Britain:
Work till you drop say bosses
Monday 19 October 2009
Calls by company bosses for the state pension age to rise to 70 have been condemned as a direct attack on the poorest in society.
The Institute of Directors (IoD), whose members in the main retire at 60 on pensions of nearly £250,000 a year, declared that the rise was necessary on the basis of “affordability” and “greatly increased” longevity.
“We just can’t afford to fund a pension for 25 or 30 years out of a working life which is probably 35 to 40 years,” whinged Malcolm Small, author of the IoD report.
Campaigners questioned Mr Small’s calculations, pointing out that average life expectancy in Britain was currently 77 for men and 81 for women – expected to increase by three years in 2020.
They also highlighted a recent NHS study showing a 10-year gap in life expectancy between rich and poor.
Neil Duncan-Jordan of the National Pensioners Convention said: “Average life expectancy for a man in Blackpool is currently 73 compared to his counterpart in Kensington and Chelsea who lives an extra 10.5 years.
“Poverty is clearly linked to life expectancy and a civilised society is one which gives every individual a chance to have a decent period of retirement without fear of financial insecurity.”
Mr Duncan-Jordan stressed that calls for an increased retirement age would in reality only affect the poorest people because the more affluent sections of society have the financial means to choose when to retire.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber lambasted the IoD report for “failing to address the platinum-plated pensions enjoyed by FTSE 100 directors, which pay out nearly £250,000 a year and are commonly available at 60.”
In the report Roadmap For Retirement Reform, the IoD also claimed to be in favour of abolishing means-tested pension benefits and upping the basic state pension.
But Mr Duncan-Jordan warned: “The need to raise basic state pension and simplify the system should not be confused with removing other benefits such as a free bus pass, free TV licence and the winter fuel allowance.”
Women’s retirement age is already being gradually increased from 60 to 65 to bring them in line with men and the government wants to delay pensions until 66 by 2026, while the Conservatives have proposed making people work until 66 by 2016.