Rising lifespans may cause unexpected bureaucratic consequences like an increase in the age of retirement.
Chancellor George Osborne, the UK’s top economic and financial minister, has announced plans to automatically raise the country’s retirement age regularly to keep up with rising life expectancy rates. Osborne explained the move is meant to off-set the economic issues raised by the growing number of retirees collecting pensions at the relatively young age of 65.
Currently over a fifth of the population is expected to live to at least 100, and the ratio is due to increase tenfold over the next few decades. A significant portion of the workforce could stand to receive taxpayer-funded pensions for far longer than anticipated if nothing is changed. Other European countries, such as Sweden, Norway, and Germany, have already linked national retirement age to life expectancy in some way. Osborne has proposed frequent independent studies on life expectancy rates, which would be used to determine an appropriate pension age. The state retirement age is already set to rise to 66 in 2020. With average lifespans increasing by about seven months each year, employees up to 40 years old might face retiring as late as age 80.
Critics have already warned that this drastic legislation may be harmful to those in poor health, like Michelle Mitchell of Age UK:
We accept that rises in the state pension age should be considered. But we must guard against any automatic system for future increases being based solely on average life expectancy. Other equally important factors must be taken into account such as the impact on the poorest, the unemployed and those with health problems.