Pensioners can't afford to stop work
THE number of working pensioners in Plymouth has doubled in recent years fuelling fears people cannot afford to retire.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 2,800 people in the city working after starting to collect their pensions at the end of 2011 – 6.2 per cent of the total elderly population.
This represents a significant hike on the 1,400 recorded in 2004, and the 1,600 (4.1 per cent of the over 65s) in 2010.
Devon has also seen a marked increase in the number of working pensioners over the last decade rising from 9,000 to more than 20,000 (13.4 per cent) last year.
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Cornwall recorded a hike over the period 2004-2011, from 6,700 (6.6 per cent) to 12,000 (10.4 per cent last year), although this is down from a high of 14,400 (12.6 per cent) in 2010.
The increases come against a background of economic turmoil, and rising living costs such as food and energy bills. Pensioners have also seen any additional income they receive from their savings plummet due to rock-bottom interest rates.
Financial pressures are among the factors cited by the ONS to account for a rise nationally in more people working past retirement included financial pressures, as well as people living longer and wanting to remain active.
Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View Alison Seabeck said: "It's quite clear the recession has forced people who previously might have chosen to retire to continue working in order to maintain their standards of living.
"This in turn of course puts pressure further down the line on younger people because of the limited number of job opportunities that currently exist. I think it's really important the Government looks very closely at the impact the downturn is having in the South West where it appears that pensioners are struggling to maintain a decent standard of living."
The state pension age is already being increased by the Government to 67 for men and women by 2028, to reflect the fact that people are living longer. While saving money, the move will also generate extra cash from income tax and national insurance revenue as people work for longer.
The default retirement age in the UK was fully abolished last year, with employers prevented by law from compulsorily retiring workers once they reach the age of 65. The Government recently announced pension changes aimed at ensuring people have enough cash in old age.
Against falling numbers of staff joining workplace pension schemes, the Government has introducing so-called "automatic enrolment", in a radical move to get people saving for their retirement. Firms will have to sign up eligible employees to a pension, which they both will have to contribute into.