LONDON Dec 5 - Britain is likely to raise the
state pension age to 68 in the mid-2030s, a decade earlier than
previously expected, to offset the impact of improving life
expectancy, the government said, as it seeks to cut its pension
The change, announced ahead of the government's Autumn
Statement on its economic plans later on Thursday, would affect
Britons who are now below the age of 50.
The government has already announced that the state pension
age will rise to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028 for both sexes, from
65 for men and 60 for women, and those dates will not change, it
Bringing forward the increase in the retirement age to 68
would help make the pension system more affordable and make it
fairer so people across generations spend, on average, up to one
third of their adult lives in retirement, the government said.
"These changes will help ensure the country's pensions
system is affordable well into the future and that we have a
sustainable long-term fiscal position," it said in a statement.
The state pension age had previously been expected to rise
to 68 only in 2046.
Under current estimates of life expectancy the pension age
is now set to rise again to 69 by the late 2040s, the government
"The principle announced today will save around 400 billion
pounds ($657 billion), or total savings of over 500 billion
pounds once we include the previously announced increases to the
state pension age (to 66 and 67)," the government said.
British finance minister George Osborne is expected to
announce later on Thursday that he is sticking with his goal to
rein in Britain's budget deficit altogether by 2020, despite a
recovering economy which has boosted tax revenues.
Governments across Europe are seeking to stem the soaring
cost of universal basic pension provisions - which in Britain is
projected to top 8 percent of economic output by 2060, from just
under 7 percent now.
In France, President Francois Hollande has announced reform
of the country's indebted pension system but has stopped short
of raising the statutory retirement age of 62 years, fearing
widespread public opposition.
Germany is gradually raising its state pension age from 65
to 67, although in recent talks on forming a coalition
government, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives agreed to
demands from the Social Democrats to allow people with 45 years
of contributions to retire early at 63.
The UK government, in an overhaul of the state pension
scheme set out earlier this year, has also introduced an
"auto-enrolment" scheme for workers in an attempt to get more
Britons to start saving for retirement. Under the scheme,
employees will be automatically enrolled into their company
pension scheme or a state scheme, while having the choice of
The government has said it will consider at regular
intervals whether the state pension age needs to be raised to
allow for rising life expectancy.
Exact dates for when the pension age will rise to 68 and 69
will be confirmed at a later date under a government review of
the pension age.