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Image: © pasja1000 via Pixabay

British women now have to wait as long as men to retire

Both genders can now only collect their State Pension after their 65th birthday.

What it means: The State Pension is money the government gives old people to help them with their living costs after they stop working. It’s currently £164.35 a week, or £8,546 a year. That seems small if you’re used to a salary (the average UK worker earns £489 per week, before taxes) but it makes up a big part of government spending - £111 billion a year, or 42 percent of the entire welfare budget (for comparison, unemployment benefits cost £2 billion a year).

For a long time, various UK governments have said the State Pension is unaffordable. Their worry is that since the start of the Millennium, the UK government has spent more money than it earns, leading to a budget deficit (ofc we have an explainer for that). Government usually regard big or growing budget deficits as a bad thing which they need to fix: by cutting down spending, by earning more money (through things like raising taxes or growing the economy) and/or by creating money (generally not considered a good idea because it makes prices go up).

The State Pension is not only a big chunk of government spending - it’s getting bigger. That’s because people are living longer (so collect a State Pension for more years) and also because the proportion of old people in Britain is growing (because people aren’t having as many kids). That’s a problem because it’s young, working people who pay the taxes which fund the State Pension. The fewer of them there are, the less money the government has to pay pensions with, so the more debt it would need to take on if it keep pension payments the same (making the budget deficit bigger).

So governments have been looking for ways to pay out less pension money. One way it’s done this is by asking women to retire later. Until 2010, women could collect their State Pension five years earlier than men, at age 60. From today they will have to wait until they’re 65. That change should save the government about £30 billion. But the government’s not stopping there: the retirement age for both men and women is also going to gradually rise, to 68 by 2039.

Read our explainers on government spending and budget deficits.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?