It is not often we would applaud Government, any kind of Government be it Labour or Conservative, bu...
It is not often we would applaud Government, any kind of Government be it Labour or Conservative, but the current administration has to be applauded for at last making a serious attempt to get to grips with the pensions crisis through the Green Paper release just before Christmas.
It is very easy to pick holes in the proposals or just blatantly put the boot in, and the usual suspects came forward to criticise, but as pensions secretary Andrew Smith said on the day the proposals were published: 'The time has come for all partners in the pensions system to rise to the challenge.'
That means policyholders, employers, unions, product providers and the Government and any future Governments.
Just as the Thatcher Government of the 1980s introduced a major cultural change to the UK with the right to buy council houses and the introduction of personal pensions, so the Labour Government is attempting to do with the pensions reform.
The post-war generation was raised with a number of dreams, chiefly the ability to own their home and a desire to retire early. But this was a generation that was largely employed in the manufacturing sector and, after 40 or 50 years of manual, laborious work, was so physically tired it was a genuine dream or desire to retire early.
Since the 1980s, the UK economy has been transformed in to a service-based economy with a workforce that largely doesn't actually make anything. It could be argued that the nature of this shift in work patterns means employment is more stimulating and challenging than it was for the manufacturing generation.
One consequence, along with improved diets and healthcare, is that the service generation is living longer. But there is a price to pay for this, particularly in the provision of pensions.
What is wrong with working past the retirement age? Many pensioners realised the dream of retiring to a place in the sun was a false one because they missed the stimulus and interaction of their own environment.
Equally, the day a person retires, some of the oxygen for living is removed ' the interaction with work colleagues. Extending roles for part-time work over the age of 65 can only help make the third stage of life as dynamic and stimulating as the first two.
Additionally, greater income in retirement will inevitably lead to greater personal spending, which can only be good for the economy.
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