Millions of workers in their forties will be forced to work an extra year before retiring, after the Tories announced they are raising the state pension age seven years earlier than planned.
Unite described the move as a “kick in the teeth for workers”.
Tory ministers announced yesterday that the pension age will be raised from 67 to 68 in 2037 – rather than in 2044 as first planned.
The goal posts have moved for around six million workers – born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978 – who will now have to graft for an extra year before they can receive a state pension.
Work and pensions secretary David Gauke blamed the decision, which will cut £75bn from the pension budget, on rising life expectancy and claimed that the retirees affected will still receive a pension for 22 years.
Gauke’s excuses came just a day after health expert Sir Michael Marmot warned that life expectancy in Britain had flatlined for the first time in a century.
‘Failed economic policy’
Unite said the government is making people pay for the Tories “failed economic policy”.
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said, “This is a kick in the teeth for millions of workers, who now face working up to a year longer before they receive their state pension. The government is cynically making workers pay for their failed economic policy.”
Unite is opposed to any increase in the state pension age. If rises have to be introduced, however, the union believes an individual’s state pension age should reflect their working background.
Cartmail explained, “The one size fits all state pension age is clearly not fit for purpose. There is a huge difference in the physical health of a worker who leaves school and undertakes manual work and a worker who enters the workplace much later and has a mainly office bound role.
“In industries such as construction, the majority of the workforce are already forced out of their roles prior to 65 because of ill health and injury. This increase will result in even more workers being forced into poverty, too old to work but too young to claim a pension.”
Labour, which would cap the pension age at 65, also blasted the rise.
‘Anything but fair’
Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said the increase was “anything but fair” after the Conservatives’ “slash and burn” welfare cuts.
She told MPs, “This is an astonishing continuation of austerity that means 34m people will work longer than under Labour’s plans.
“We cannot allow this government to push people to work longer and longer to pay for its failed austerity agenda.”
The government’s latest attack on workers’ pensions follows the treatment of women who were born in the 1950s and have seen their state pension age increased to 65, with very little warning.
The decision led to the creation of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.