Read the section on the ageing population on pages 50-52.

One of the effects of this ageing population has been the implications for the provision of pensions. As people are living longer, they are drawing their pensions for a longer period of time. In addition, more people are taking early retirement, making the period of retirement even longer.

The average age for retirement for men in 1950 was 67 years and they could expect to live, on average, for a further 11 years. By 2005, the average age at retirement for men was 64 years and these men could expect to live, on average, for another 20/21 years. In effect, therefore, the average period of retirement has doubled over this period.

The government has recognised that they need to make policies that will deal with this. One option is to raise the age at which people can claim state pensions. Another is to encourage people to provide at least some of their retirement income themselves via private pensions.

Now you should carry out some research on current changes being made to the age at which people will be able to claim state pensions in future.

Use Google to search for ‘Changes to the state pension age‘.

Find answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the earliest ages a person can claim a state pension at the moment?
  2. What changes are going to take place and when?
  3. What factor will determine the age at which you can claim your state pension?
  4. What options will you have when you reach state pension age?

Additional questions to discuss as a group:

  1. Why have these changes been made?
  2. What other changes might the government make to ease the situation?
  3. Explain what is meant by the term:

  4. (a) pensioner time bomb
    (b) ageing population
    (c) dependency ratio
    (d) ageism