An idea to increase the state pension age to 75 in just over 15 years’ time has sparked incredulity among some older people who have already had to wait longer than expected for their pension.
The Government has said it is not considering the proposal from a think tank. However, this has not alleviated everyone’s fears, with some highlighting the risks involved with working later in life in certain careers.
Ann Baker expected to get her pension at 60 but had to wait an extra three years because of changes to the threshold for women. She continued working as a driving instructor until she was 61, but could not keep going until 63.
Even though it meant she used her savings to survive until her pension came through in 2016, she tells i that continuing to work into her 60s, particularly in her job, was potentially dangerous.
While she did not suffer any accidents, she warns it could be a real possibility for driving instructors if the state pension age was moved to 75.
“Believe me it would become a daily occurrence if people were still working in their later years. It would be, in my opinion, literally murder,” says the 66-year-old from Essex.
“By the time I had reached 61, I had to stop work, even though my state pension was being denied.
“In lessons I knew my reactions to things had begun to slow, obviously as an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) you must at all times be one step ahead of what your student might suddenly do, [such as] swerve or hit the accelerator instead of the brake.
“Throughout the years I never had a car accident, thank goodness,” says Baker, but indicates there were a few mishaps that could have been dangerous.
“I always had control of car and student until I reached my 60s. A couple of things happened which, although I got away without there being an accident, was down to luck.”
Baker says she felt she had to stop work at this point. She cannot even contemplate having had to work longer.
“The thought of being 75 and thinking ahead for a 17-year-old who maybe thinks they know everything about driving… it’s so scary.
“I knew an older ADI, in his late 60s, who fell asleep on a busy A-road.”
The current state pension age for men and women is moving from 65 to 66. It is set to increase to 67 by 2028 and to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
But fears about further, sharper increases stem from a Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think tank report, which recommended raising the state pension age for men and women to 70 by 2028 and then to 75 by 2035 in a bid to boost the economy.
Some women who were affected by their state pension threshold moving from 60 to 65, in line with men, are particularly concerned about the suggestion of more increases. They claim they have suffered financially as a result of having had to work longer than they expected and that their quality of life has deteriorated.
Baker says she “honestly” thinks any idea to extend the state pension age to 75 is “too big a jump”.
“Most won’t have any quality to their retirement. I’m so tired at 66. There’s no point in the Government saying we are all living longer if we are too ill to enjoy retirement at all.
“Does life just mean work until you drop. It’s OK for the wealthy, they [can afford care], but the majority will suffer. Can you imagine a paramedic or firefighter at 75 years old either getting the prescription wrong or trying to climb a ladder to reach upstairs window to give you a lift down to safety? I dread to think of the outcome to so many scenarios,” she adds.