State pension age could rise to ABOVE average life expectancy in parts of UK - 'Literally working into our graves'

In Blackpool’s Bloomfield ward, the average life expectancy for men is just 67 years and three months

Published

Plans to increase the state pension age to 68 have been criticised in a UK town where the average life expectancy is as low as 67.

In Blackpool’s Bloomfield ward, men are expected to live just 67 years and three months.

It is one of eight Blackpool neighbourhoods that has a place in the 10 most deprived districts in the UK, according to UK Government figures.

People living in the area have hit out at new plans to raise the state pension age to 68, including builder Alex Johnston, 24, who said the plan was “bonkers”.

Alex from Lytham St Annes, a nearby town, told the Mirror: “If the life expectancy is younger than the age of retirement, something is going wrong.

“Even when people do get their pensions they still have to live modestly most of the time.”

He added: “It is not really possible for us in the construction industry to work to that age.

“I have been doing this for five or six years and can already feel the toll it is taking on my body because of the amount of heavy lifting we have to do.

“With a lot of the hazardous materials we have to deal with, the dust, even with the PPE we wear, it is still a higher risk for respiratory problems, which will probably end up lowering our life expectancy.”

Bloomfield Road stadium towers over Bloomfield ward, where the average life expectancy is as low as 67
Bloomfield Road stadium towers over Bloomfield ward, where the average life expectancy is as low as 67

John O’Connor, 34, runs a hotel in the Bloomfield ward with his partner, said: “My dad is 62 and he has another five years to go before he gets his pension and he has worked all his life, and now they want to increase it again? It is wrong.

“It is a joke, especially when you look at the life expectancy around here.”

Leanne Hewitt, 38, runs a nearby electrical goods store and anticipates the state pension age to rise into “the mid 70s”.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get my state pension, the way things are going,” she said.

“We will be literally working into our graves.

“People are trying to get as much work as we can, just to be able to eat, just to be able to live.

“And life expectancy is going to go down, if people can’t afford to eat or keep themselves warm.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said that no decision has been taken on changes to the state pension age.

A review into whether the rules around the state pension age remain appropriate will be published early this year.

The Sun reported that people born in the 1970s and later may be told they must work for longer as early as the March Budget.

Pension experts said the Government faces a “tricky balancing act” in supporting an ageing population.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “No decision has been taken on changes to the state pension age.

“The Government is required by law to regularly review the state pension age and the second State Pension Age Review is currently considering, based on a wide range of evidence including latest life expectancy data and two independent reports, whether the rules around state pension age remain appropriate.

“The review will be published early this year.”