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Last Updated: Monday, 19 September 2005, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Brown urges pensions age debate
Protesting pensioners
Pensioners demand protection
Chancellor Gordon Brown has said the UK must have a "national debate" about raising the state pension age.

Speaking in Scotland he said no major decision would be made until such widespread discussions had taken place.

On Sunday, Work and Pensions secretary David Blunkett told BBC News that a further rise in the state pension age should be considered.

The government's Pension Commission issues its report in November, and may suggest people have to work longer.

Work longer?

The current state pension age of 60 for women is due to be increased to 65 by the year 2020. This will bring it into line with men and will be phased in from the year 2010.

After a visit to the USA last week, Mr Blunkett said: "In the US, they've already committed themselves... to raising, over time, the retirement age to 67. That's the kind of debate we'll be having on the back of the commission report."

The Pension Commission, led by Adair Turner, issued an interim report in October 2004. It suggested a mixture of higher taxes, greater savings and a higher average retirement age to avoid more people living in poverty in the future.

It claimed 12 million people in the UK were not saving enough for their retirement.

Last week, in an address to the TUC, Mr Turner said his mixture of remedies was unavoidable because people were living longer.

But later retirement was denounced as a "quack remedy" by the TUC's general secretary Brendan Barber.

Several trade unions said they would take strike action to prevent their members in occupational pension schemes being forced to work longer.

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