NETHERLANDS - The outgoing Dutch minority government - supported by a majority in parliament - has decided to bring forward plans to increase the retirement age to 67.

The retirement age for the state pension AOW - rather than coming into force from 2024, as had been agreed last April - will now be increased to 67 in 2023, several sources have confirmed.

Currently, the official retirement age in the Netherlands is 65.

The retirement age of 67 is to be reached incrementally, initially through three-yearly one-month increases, followed by three-yearly two-month steps and, from 2019, yearly three-month increases.

Bringing forward the retirement age is part of the fleshed-out version of an austerity programme agreed at the end of April to cut the budget deficit to 3%.

Earlier this year, the governing parties - the liberal party VVD and the Christian Democrats of CDA - reached the so-called Spring Deal with opposition parties, including the liberal democrats D66, the left-of-centre GroenLinks and right-of-centre religious party ChristenUnie.

The accord was struck after the minority government lost the support of the right-of-centre Freedom Party (PVV) over spending cuts.

The initial Pensions Agreement - reached by employers, employees and the government last year - provided for single-step increases of the retirement age to 66 by 2020 and to 67 by 2025, when the pensionable age was to be linked to life expectancy.

However, the five-party coalition has a small majority in parliament, and Dutch voters will go to the poll for a new government on 12 September.

Recently, Peter Borgdorff, director of the €100bn healthcare scheme PFZW, said a gradual increase of the retirement age would further complicate pensions administration.