In order to reflect increased life expectancy, a leading UK think tank has called on the government to increase the state pension age. However, public mistrust of government statistics could force the pension system to collapse.
According to research carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), if the UK pensions system is to be sustainable in the future, the state pension age should rise to 67 between 2020 and 2030.
However, the IPPR has warned that in order for such a political consensus to prove successful, the government needs to dissolve the public mistrust surrounding the issue of pensions. Efforts to reform the current pension system could collapse with people refusing to work longer because they do not accept the official statistics showing that life expectancy is increasing.
Many say they do not intend to rely on the state pension and plan to retire at 65. However, they remain hostile to the suggestion that they might have to work longer before collecting a state pension and feel that they should be able to choose when and how they retire.
Peter Robinson, IPPR senior economist, said: There is a consensus among pension experts that increased life expectancy will make it necessary for us to work longer. Our research shows that the public are not convinced and distrust the evidence from employers, the financial services industry and government, basing their expectations on the experiences of friends and family.
The IPPR have stated that raising the state pension age is vital if the UK pensions system is to remain sustainable and cope with the pressure of an ageing population. One possible way to build a consensus on increasing the state pension age, says the independent charity, is to link it with an increase in the basic state pension allowance.