The state pension age is officially increasing to 67 in 2028, following plans that were announced in November 2018. However, a new proposal from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has suggested propelling this change and increasing the retirement age to 70 by 2028, less than 10 years from now. And to rub salt further into the wound, it was later recommended that it should be raised to 75 by 2035.

All of this has been proposed under the guise of ‘supporting the ageing workforce’ in an attempt the boost the UK’s economy. Outrage from all generations has already ensued, and for good reason. This proposal is a brutal regime designed to boost an economy ruined by the system and uses OAPs (old age pensioners) as collateral damage — while boasting of its ‘noble’ goal.

The first point people tend to focus on is the problem of OAPs in low-income brackets. Can you imagine a 70-year-old construction worker? Those in lower income brackets are more likely to be working for longer, yet they are the group most likely to be affected by forms of disability, severe health issues, unpaid caring jobs and poor-quality of living. But those in higher income brackets won’t have this problem. And while it is being said that there will be infrastructure in place to support an ageing workforce, this hasn’t happened so far, so I have little hope of it happening in the future.

In the report, comments are repeatedly made that GPs should be better trained and mental health should be taken more seriously, but with the university process making it increasingly difficult to train doctors and the stigma that still surrounds mental health — made worse by a lack of support for mental health organisations that take care of older people — the new proposal is making no attempts to offer solutions for bridging the gap between is and ought.  An increase in the retirement age will mean that older people will have to work as though they are 40 when they’re 70. And any struggles they may encounter will be their cross to bear.

However, what we seem to have overlooked is the damaging effect of this policy on young people — which is already leaving its trace.

In the CSJ report, there are statistics to show that the employment rate for 18-24-year-olds has gone down by about 6 per cent since 1998 but the employment rate for 65+ has increased by about 6 per cent. And this figure will only grow as the retirement age increases. An increase in retirement age means that the circle of entering work when you are young and leaving work when you are old is thrown out of balance. Jobs that should be passed on to young people will still be filled by the older generation. Consequently, the unemployment rate in young people with only increase further. Young people will find it increasingly difficult to come out of education and go into work. And with the expectation that young people must have a degree and even a masters to even  begin the competition for a job, the gap between education and work is only going to get worse. Young people will find it increasingly hard to get work in a stagnant job environment, and a longer period of time being unemployed will only make that worse. We can’t win.

Similarly, the problem of income brackets also concerns young people. It is the youth from the middle and upper classes that will have less trouble entering work, whereas young people from low-income backgrounds will have another obstacle in their path. Young people from low-income brackets will be drowning in university debt, and those who weren’t able to attend university will be less likely to even get to the interview stage without a degree as proof of their worth. Condemned to work for minimum wages — that is, if they’re lucky to find a job after completing their education — many young people will be working for less pay and over a longer time period without much say in the matter.

Unfortunately, the UK isn’t the only country to be subscribing to these new draconian laws. Russia pushed for an increase in the retirement age to 65 — despite the average life expectancy for men being 67. Australia plans to bring the retirement age from 57 to 60 by 2025. While Austria, Belgium, Japan and the US are just a few in a long list of countries around the world planning to increase the retirement age for their citizens. So Britain isn’t alone in this questionable endeavour. And what’s more, the fact that so many young people all around the globe are being put in jeopardy, is something we need to pay attention to and address right now.

This new scheme isn’t just a thinly veiled attempt by the government to force older people to work themselves to death. It also heralds the onset of an unintended crisis amongst young people who will be submerged into longer periods of unemployment when they are young, delaying nearly everything else that would normally follow. My generation shouldn’t have to accept this.

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