If you were born before 6th March 1961, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You can retire as previously instructed by the government. If you were both after that date, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. Iain Duncan Smith wants to make you retire far later in life. In many cases, when you hit age 75.

When the retirement age for men was 65, I was in favour of equalising the retirement age with women at 60. I still am, actually. I concluded a working life of 40 years was quite enough, thank you, and it would be nice to enjoy a few years of freedom before bits start falling off and I start slowing down even more. I don’t recall anyone asking me, but now I have to retire at 66 and women who are only slightly younger than me must now retire at 67. I regard this as pure state theft.

Iain Duncan Smith runs a right wing ‘think tank’, which will come as quite a surprise to many of you who might wonder if he ever thinks anything at all. Think of him as an unpleasant crank, but do remember he has the ear of Boris Johnson. Duncan Smith led Johnson’s campaign to put him into Downing Street. They are as thick as thieves. I see things happening as follows:

  • Duncan Smith’s think tank recommends changing retirement age to 75
  • Government says that current arrangements are sustainable and there are no plans to change them
  • Johnson calls general election and wins
  • New government faced with grave financial crisis as we leave Europe announces immediate review into all aspects of government spending
  • Review concludes raising retirement age to 75
  • Five years later everyone has forgotten about it and votes Conservative again

Everyone who voted Conservative in 2015 and 2017 voted to work longer for less. That’s a simple fact of life. And everyone who voted Labour or anyone else voted not to do anything about it. That’s why the subject must be raised now.

The people who will be most affected – surprise, surprise! – will be those on the lowest income who have little or no private pensions. Poorer people don’t live as long as richer people so, in effect, this will be a cynical ploy to stop low paid people drawing pensions at all. As ever, they will be the victims.