Inevitable rise in retirement age to be announced

The planned rise in retirement age is expected to be announced in today's Autumn Statement. Photo:

The headline sounds horrendous - work till you're 70! But given the enormous and rapidly growing weight on the public books of pension costs, we shouldn't be surprised at what George Osborne is expected to announce.

Pensions expert Tom McPhail, of Hargreaves Lansdowne, has told me it was always going to happen: "It was just a question of how and when it was unveiled."

There are already provisions in the Pensions Bill for the age when you can claim the state pension to be linked to life expectancy. Currently, it's set to rise to 67 by 2028 but will then pause before rising to 68 between 2044 and 2046. McPhail says: "This was already widely acknowledged as being too late and too slow."

McPhail told me: "Given current low levels of private savings and improvements in life expectancy, it was unrealistic for those in their 40s and younger to expect that they wouldn’t see their State Pension Age rise again above age 67."

And a final, if rather depressing reality check, he says: "Many in work today are already unlikely to be able to afford to retire until their 70s, irrespective of when their state pension falls due."

So while there may be hue and cry about the announcement today, there is a rather grim inevitability about it too.

The happy news is we're living longer - the downside is that costs taxpayers much much more.