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South Tyneside anger at Osborne’s plans to push back retirement age

LONGER WORKING ...  Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

LONGER WORKING ... Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

OLD and young have expressed their anger at Government plans to make people work well into their dotage.

Millions of today’s younger people will be unable to retire until they reach 70 under new rules announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne this week.

An overhaul of the state retirement system will mean that people currently under the age of 50 must work even longer than they had previously thought.

In his autumn statement, Mr Osborne told MPs that despite the recent economic recovery, the job of balancing the Government’s budget is far from over, and that will mean several more years of spending cuts and tax rises.

The retirement age is to be moved back with the aim of ensuring that people spend no more than a third of their expected lifespan drawing a pension.

It’s the latest move to make the state pension affordable as life expectancy rises, with today’s pensioners currently costing taxpayers almost £100bn a year.

The Government had already said the state pension age would rise to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028, and those dates will not change.

But now it will rise to 68 in the mid-2030s, affecting people now in their late 40s, and to 69 in the mid-2040s, potentially affecting those in their late 30s.

People in their late 20s are likely to have to work until their 70th birthdays after 2050.

The changes are “completely unfair”, according to retired shipyard worker Bob Gray, 73, of Whiteleas.

Mr Gray, who retired at the age of 60 due to ill health, said: “When you reach 65, I think you’ve done enough. It means that you have worked for about 50 years and paid your taxes for all those years.

“You deserve to be able to put your feet up after all that graft.

“I certainly don’t think you should have to work beyond 65 if you are a manual worker, although working in an office is slightly different.”

Craig Low, 26, a worker at the Tattoo Studio in King Street, South Shields, described the new pension approach as completely “out of touch”, adding: “It’s as if we are going back to the 1800s.

“I know we have an ageing population, but the priorities are all wrong. There are other ways money can be raised, particularly from the richest in society.”

Care worker Caroline Vincent, 46, of South Shields, said: “It’s worrying. I don’t think I’ll be able to retire when I’m due to in 20-odd years’ time.”

South Shields shopper Matthew Cain, 25, says he has done everything he can to find a job – without success so far. He said: “I’ve taken courses in forklifts, health and safety, first aid and computers, but I’m finding it impossible to get a job. Now, you’re expected to work longer for less money.

“I can’t even get on the jobs ladder, so I can’t think about working until I’m 70.”

Assembly worker Wayne Davison, 28, of Horsley Hill, South Shields, said: “I’ve got a pension at work. I don’t want to wait until I’m 70 to retire. I put in £100 a month, and the company puts 20 per cent of that towards it.

“I don’t want to work any longer than 65. No one should have to.”

South Shields shop assistant Natalie Laing, 27, added: “Knowing that I won’t be able to retire so early is good for me in that at least I can prepare for it, but for others nearer to retirement age, it must be a bit daunting.”

Twitter@shieldsgazpaul

 

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