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UK makes proposal to raise retirement age to 70

UK – The UK government has outlined proposals to raise the retirement age to 70 – though the plans are only seen as tackling part of the problem.

Under the new proposals put forward by the Department of Trade and Industry today, employer-set retirement ages will become unlawful “unless objectively justified”.

“We are also asking for comments on a default age of 70 after which employers could require employees to retire without having to justify their decision,” the DTI says.

“Employers would be free to continue employing people beyond the age of 70,” it added. “We will not make a decision about retirement age until we have considered the outcome of this consultation.”

Observers felt the proposals did not go far enough. Kevin Wesbroom, pensions consultant at Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, said: "While we welcome this morning's announcement, it does highlight some important issues for employers which will demand a unified approach rather than decisions taken in isolation.

“With the current crisis surrounding pensions, the changes on age discrimination highlight the need for employers to provide a good pension scheme to support a changing and ageing workforce.”

“For example, what effect will working longer have on the motivation of both older employees and their younger colleagues who may see career paths being blocked?

The proposals follow a BBC report that pensions minister Malcolm Wicks was jeered by pensioners at a conference in Blackpool.

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