People in their 30s now could face having to work until they are 70, a pensions expert warned yesterday.
With an ageing population - in 20 years one in four of the UK will be over 65 - the country will not be able to afford state benefits as they operate now.
Pension regulator David Norgrove believes the entitlement age for the basic state pension will have to rise to 70.
He told the BBC last night: "People are going to have to work longer. As a nation we are not going to save as much for retirement as we did in the past."
The present pensionable age for women is 60 and for men 65. The Government is already committed to raising that. In 2024 the pensionable age for both sexes will reach 66 and in 2034 it will be 67.
In another ten years, 2044, it is due to reach 68.
Using the Ministry of Pensions own online calculator, workers now aged 52 will retire aged 66, those aged 40 will retire at 67.
Anyone now aged 31 must wait until they are 68, or if Mr Norgrove's fears are born out, until they are 70. He said of the planned retirement ages: "I think it will go higher than that." He added: "People are frightened of saving for pensions."
There are plans to increase the number of people eligible for state pensions by cutting the time it takes to qualify from 39 years for women and 44 years for men to 30 years for both.
And from 2012 everyone will be automatically enrolled in a low-cost national savings scheme, which they can opt out of.
Employers can opt out on behalf of workers if they provide a better scheme.
The good news for state pensions is by the time 2044 comes, the current £95.25 a week should have risen to more than £400.
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