What is pensioned retirement?

The Coalition’s intention to abolish compulsory retirement at 65 ends discrimination on the basis of age and reflects the changing demographic of an ageing society. Yet it does not address the question: “What is pensioned retirement?” Is it a reward for past service; the long holiday for which we saved; or an exit for the “worn out”? The original Pensions Act introduced a century ago does not provide the answer since it was introduced simply to “lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor”. Its value was also set deliberately low to encourage workers to make their own provision for old age, and its conditions were, by present-day standards, very restrictive. The economic mismanagement of the last decade has prompted the present review but we should examine the whole concept rather than simply the financial implications.

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