THE GUARDIAN: Flexible retirement age: an idea whose time has come?

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 6/2/2017


Firstly, we should recognise that retirement has only recently been presumed to be a financially secure stage of life. Pensioner poverty began to improve only in the late 70s as the value of the state pension rose and an increasing number (mainly men) were able to benefit from occupational pension schemes, explains Chris Phillipson, professor of gerontology at the University of Manchester and co-director of the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing.While the first contributory, flat-rate pension in the UK was introduced for women who reached 60 and men who reached 65 by the 1946 National Insurance Act, for most of the 1950s and 1960s, those without an occupational pension – the majority of working-class pensioners – were condemned to eke out their old age on the margins of poverty. “The reality is that the 1950s and 1960s were a time of great poverty for the majority of older people,” says Phillipson.

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