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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 13:56 GMT
Pension age 'set to rise' in 2020
John Hutton
John Hutton says a higher pension age is looming
Some increase in the state pension age from 2020 is "inevitable", the Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton says.

The minister was speaking at a conference organised by the think tank, The Work Foundation.

The state pension age for women is already set to rise from 60 to 65, the same as for men, between 2010 and 2020.

Last year the Pensions Commission, led by Lord Turner, proposed that people should work even longer before being able to claim the state pension.

However his suggestion was that a further increase from 65 to 66 - or even higher - should only be phased in from 2030.

Blunt tool

Mr Hutton acknowledged that raising the state pension age was "a fairly blunt tool for changing effective retirement ages".

But he added: "If we aren't prepared to consider the option of raising the state pension age, we will simply pass an even greater burden onto our children."

Even so, Mr Hutton stressed that any rise would only be acceptable as part of a package to improve pension provision - and that it needed to be accompanied by "tailored support" to help people back to work.

Mr Hutton announced that pensions issues will be addressed in the build-up to a National Pensions Day.

There will be a series of regional public debates culminating in a national event on Saturday 18th March.



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