State pensions slow to catch up with rise in life expectancy

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State pensions slow to catch up with rise in life expectancy

Infant girls born in England in 2064 are likely to live for 100 years, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics, prompting questions about increasing the state pension.

The ONS research showed that the average life expectancy of female children is predicted to grow by 17 years from the 2014 average age of 83.0, while the average life of a male child is predicted to rise from 79.3 years for a child born in 2014 to 97.6 years for one born in 2064.

The report said: “There has been an element of ‘catching up’ for males over the last 40 years with higher rates of improvement in mortality than for females.

“This is a result of a change in working and social behaviours. For example, relatively high numbers of men who started smoking earlier in the 20th century have now given up, with smoking prevalence lowest for the oldest age groups.

“There continues to be much debate among demographers as to whether life expectancy will continue to increase at current rates indefinitely or whether lifestyle factors such as a rise in level of obesity and in antibiotic resistance may cause the rate of mortality improvement to stop or even decline.”

Adviser view

Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Bristol-based Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The inevitable consequence of this trend is that the state pension age will have to rise faster, sooner.

“Given the mess recent governments made over current state pension age increases, the sooner this problem is addressed and communicated to everyone affected, the better.”