Fifth of men die before state pension age

Posted on April 25th, 2011 | Categories - Pensions

Changes to the state pension age may discriminate against poorer classes.

Builders, packers and cleaners have a lower life expectancy than higher paid workers.

Almost a fifth of the poorest men in the UK die before they are eligible for a state pension, indicating that raising the retirement age is unfair to lower paid workers who do manage to survive beyond 65, a Labour MP has warned.

Research for former pensions minister Malcolm Wicks has shown that 19% of men from the lowest social classes, including cleaners and manual labourers, die before the age of 65 compared to just 7% of men from the highest social group.

It also highlighted that 10% of women from poorer backgrounds die before they reach 60 compared with 4% of women from a better off demographic.

Poorer male workers who do manage to survive passed the state pension age tend to live for an average of four years less than men in the highest class – a 65-year-old labourer is expected to live for just over 14 years after retirement where as a richer man could live for 18 years.

Mr Wicks explained that raising the state pension age would affect the lowest social classes the most adding that the government’s failure to accommodate for the differing life expectancies of working groups would lead to injustice.

Mr Wicks said: “A pension penalty is often paid by those from the lowest social classes, people whose work involves labouring jobs, driving vans, packing and cleaning etc. Some die before pension age, while others enjoy fewer pension years”.

He continued: “These are people in the main who left school at 15 or 16 and have been in the labour market ever since. By their 60s many of them are worn out and simply need the rest that retirement can offer”.