Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 11:29 UK

Ageing issue 'ticking time bomb'

Lord Hunt of Wirral
Lord Hunt of Wirral is chairman of the foundation

The financial implications of the ageing UK population have been described as a "ticking time bomb" by the chairman of a new group.

The Life Trust Foundation has been set up to study how to deal with the financial impact of longer life spans.

Chairman and former Conservative minister, Lord Hunt of Wirral, said innovative ideas were needed to urge people to save for retirement.

The not-for-profit group wants to analyse all research on the issue.

Financial impacts

Lord Hunt said that we were very good at extending life, but not so alert to adding quality to those extra years by making provision for old age.

He said that someone aged 55 had a one-in-two chance of reaching 90, but two-thirds of them had failed to make any financial plans for sustaining themselves later in their retirement.

He added that in two years there would be more pensioners than children in the UK.

"This is not an issue which is going to go away, and we want to play our part in diffusing the ticking time bomb of longevity," he said.

Consumer panel

The new not-for-profit group's plans over the next year include an audit of all the research and information about longevity, helped by experts at the University of Oxford.

Pensioners
Pensioners will outnumber children in two years

It will set up a consumer panel of people aged 60 to 85 to analyse the money, lifestyle, health and relationships of retired people.

A seminar will be held in the autumn to outline its findings.

Research will also be carried out into how other countries are coping with the economic realities of an ageing population.

"More than ever we need to be aware of the implications of living a long life, and a vital part of this is for people to consider their longevity hand-in-hand with their future finances," said Mike Lake of Help the Aged, who is a member of the new foundation.

Earlier this week the Office for National Statistics said that state and private pensions still provided most pensioners with only "modest" incomes.


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