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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Ministers ponder retirement age
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is looking at different options
Labour is considering scrapping the standard retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women.

Work and Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith told Labour's annual conference in Blackpool the government wanted to "move away" from the idea of a fixed age at which people must stop working.

Mr Smith wants older workers to be able to continue in employment, possibly on a part time basis.

He told the conference that the government was looking at ways to "erode the present cliff edge at the end of working life - where on Friday someone is a valued member of the workforce but by Monday they are shifted into retirement".

Policy under fire

Labour's pensions policy has come under fire in recent months.

Falling stock markets have wiped millions off the value of pension funds, forcing some companies to close their final salary schemes.

As a result, some critics claim many people will be forced to continue working after the current retirement age or be forced to rely on state-handouts.

A green paper on pension reform is expected before the end of the year.

But it is unlikely to propose any further changes to the formal state pension ages.

There are already plans to equalise the state pension age for men and women by 2020, but ministers are looking at ways of encouraging more people to carry on working longer.


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02 Jul 02 | Politics
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