The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Help The Aged

In my previous post about the Optimum Population Trust, I was just getting started on the issue of pensions before I ran out of words. So, continued.

The pensions gap is a real problem. But, as even a child would realise, the idea of increasing the nation’s population in order to pay for it is not a long-term solution; it just means the population will have to increase yet further to pay the pensions of the next generation, and so on. And an increasingly densely-populated country means a drop in people’s quality of life in all manner of ways; not just through finding the queue at the post office is longer but in having to live with increased crime and in the more authoritarian society that results from it.

The problem’s come about because the average life span of people in the UK has risen while the retirement age has remained the same. It’s a direct result of cleaner air, better diets, massively improved healthcare and the fact that only freaks with a death-wish continue to smoke. Even the fact that we’re all lardies of ever-increasing girth isn’t mitigating the trend.

The solution, as even a child would realise, is to raise the retirement threshold. Not a popular move, but a necessary one. It was originally set as five years below the average age-of-death; it should be raised to that level now. My idea is that retirement becomes a more graduated process – with, say, ten years of semi-retirement before you’re entitled to a full pension.

There’s not really any sensible alternative. Most people of my generation are resigned to the fact they won’t be able to retire at sixty-five. But most of them expect to be in full health and capable of work at the age of sixty-five too.