Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 16:49 UK

Retirement age: Your stories

Shadow chancellor George Osborne

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has outlined plans to raise the state retirement age for men to 66 by 2016.

Labour plan to raise the pension age to 66 between 2024 and 2026 but the Conservatives say this is not "ambitious enough" given rising life expectancy and the scale of the UK's debts.

BBC News website readers have been sharing their thoughts on the plans.

JOHN LEY, 50, KENT

John Lee with his partner Ley Finch and daughter Lilian Rose
John Ley with his partner Lee Finch and daughter Lilian Rose

I am astonished that in a society striving for equality, the retirement age for women - who live longer than men - is not equalised before increasing the retirement age for men.

A decision like this must be challenged in Europe as sexist.

If it was the other way round the women's groups would be taking action. I wouldn't mind so much if there was equality.

Public sector pensions should also be addressed. Why should a police officer be allowed to take their pension at 55 but the rest of us have to work for much longer?

The gap is too wide. Public sector workers should not take their pension until 65.

I would have voted Conservative but now will vote Labour on this point alone.

PATRICK HILL, 54, CHELTENHAM

Patrick Hill
Patrick Hill: "Older people aren't on the scrap heap at 65."

I don't think this policy is bold enough.

We have to face facts that people are living for longer, and advances in medicine will continue this process.

What was reasonable a few decades ago is not realistic now. A 65-year-old today is quite different from one in 1960.

Older people still have a lot to contribute to society and may want to carry on working. They're not on the scrap heap at 65.

Let them carry on working. Maybe a way around it would be to let people retire on a basic pension at 65. Those who elect to continue working until 70 would receive a far better pension.

DAVE FULTON, 56, COUNTY DURHAM

After a lifetime of voting Labour, I had honestly felt that the time had come to give the Tories my vote.

However, this move to remove a year from my retirement has totally alienated me from ever voting Tory.

I work as a planning engineer for a large international company. I'm on a final salary pension and I am unsure how, if at all, this will be affected.

I've worked for the company for over 30 years and have private pension provision as well as my company pension and have long looked forward to retiring.

To have the rug pulled out from under my feet eight years before I retire is not endearing the Tories to me whatsoever.

DIANE EVANS, 55, MOLD

This could lose them the election. I'm so disappointed - I intended 100% to vote Conservative but my husband and I would be directly affected by these plans.

The goalposts seem to be moving all the time for the over 50s

I work four days as an administrator in a financial services company. My husband is 57 and a university lecturer.

Our children are in their 20s and cannot afford to pay into pensions because they are repaying large student loans.

I realise something has to be done and although it may seem selfish, I feel that we should not have to be the ones to suffer financially, having paid into the system all our working lives.

The goalposts seem to be moving all the time for the over 50s. By leaving it until 2026 the effect would be much more gradual.

I feel these measures will create a lot of uncertainty, especially for women. Will we be expected to vote without knowing exactly what the plans for women are?

ROSEMARY SAMIOS, 74, ISLE OF SKYE

Rosemary Samios
"I can't think of anything worse than being inactive for 30 years."

I am nearly 75. I live in Australia but I run businesses in Scotland, and travel there twice a year.

I have never had a pension of any kind and don't expect one.

Work keeps people young and healthy. Seventy-two years is a better age at which to receive a pension.

Many of us are living past 90.

I can't think of anything worse than being inactive for 30 years.

MORE COMMENTS

Like most people over the age 50 I have spent my entire life planning for retirement at 65. Never did I consider that I would be donating a year of contribution, from my state pension to fund the greed of the City. It is bad enough having to see the shortfalls in my company and private pensions, but to be further penalised (by the party that encouraged private pensions) by reducing my pension pot by around £6,000. I wish to draw my state pension when I am 65 in line with my retirement plan. Unlike the bankers, I am not asking for a 'bail out' just give me what is rightfully mine.
John Dickinson, Wigan

I totally agree with the pension changes and would support the move. Most people when they retire find employment for a couple of years, but this must be supported by total wage freezes across the public sector. I work in the private sector and have taken a substantial cut in salary to preserve the jobs of others. Pensions of public sector workers also need aligning with the private sector. No longer should the taxpayer bear the burden of these final salary schemes killed-off in the private sector by the existing Labour government.
Robert Godfrey, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

At last; a politician who appears to want to give us some detail. I'm not upset at this proposal at all. The thought of 'having' to stop work at 65 fills me with horror anyway - 66 is no age today and it is a bit rich of Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper to complain of people in their late fifties having to rip up their retirement plans; her government has done more to destroy pensions in this country that any other.
Andrew Chatburn, Maidstone, Kent

Disgraceful. How much longer does the working man have to support and prop up this ailing country, caused mainly by inept decisions from our political masters. One year longer may not seem long to Cameron and Osborne given that they only started working at an age of around 23 to 25. Most of the population in the 49 to 59 age range like me (58) started working at 15 and will have completed 51 years in the workplace before we can retire. Are Cameron and Osborne prepared to work till they are 74 or 76?
James Seivwright, Westhill, Aberdeenshire

I will be 65 on 12 April 2016. As the tax year starts around 7 April each year, I am horrified to miss out by five days. Why can't the proposal be phased to suit when your birthday falls? It's not a vote winner for me.
Stephen Jordan, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire

I'm 58 now, so it looks like I will be affected. Also my wife is 56 so she won't get hers till 63. This is a double whammy as pension payments are delayed for both of us, which seems unfair to me. They should wait until after 2020 when both get the pension at 65 and then raise it gradually after that to 66. My objection is that people who have paid in all their lives are being made to pay for the bad debts. He should get serious about cutting social security to those who get everything paid and contribute nothing, before he starts knocking on my door.
Michael Foster, United Kingdom

This is to be expected. I'm almost 60 but I realised in 1989 when I started my own company that demographics would mean working longer. My pension from previous employment should have cut in at 60 until I recently changed it to 65. The pension I started in 1989 doesn't cut in until I'm 70. The issue I really have about pensions is Gordon Brown changing the taxation benefits from dividends as one of his first stealth taxes. I consider that this one change has resulted in the closure of defined benefit pension schemes.
Dave Barnes, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

I am 57 and due to redundancy I took early retirement, and am existing on my works pension. I now discover that due to the banks failings I am expected to work a year longer in order to pay for it. When I started out in my married life, finances were extremely tight and banks were threatening, lacking in understanding and only interested in themselves. Why should I have to bail them out? This is unacceptable and I won't be voting for it.
Steve Murray, Cannock, England



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