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Pension age rise to 66: Your reactions

What are the reactions to the government's plans to speed up a rise in the state pension age, to 66 for men, possibly by as early as 2016?

ROB MACLEAN, 55, QUANTITY SURVEYOR

Rob MacLean, from Glasgow, works in the construction industry and says it is unrealistic to expect labourers to work until they are 66.

"The construction industry can be a very ageist place to work. The simple fact is that employers don't want you after age 60.

"Life expectancy may have increased but the ability to do manual labour into your sixties hasn't. Some people aren't able to do physical jobs for that long," he says.

He has a private pension, but says that he has lost £10,000 overnight because of this announcement.

He also thinks people who are retiring soon will pay a bigger price than those currently climbing the early steps of the career ladder.

"I left school at 16 in 1971, and have been paying tax and national insurance ever since. Now the government won't give me a pension until 66, after 50 years of contributions.

"Compare that to kids leaving school today, most of whom stay on to 18, go to university then take a postgraduate course, meaning they don't contribute until well into their twenties.

"The early reduction in the state pension age is grossly unfair."

ROY NIBLETT, 58, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

Roy Niblett, a technical director of a small engineering company in Sandhurst, Berkshire, says raising the age of the state pension to 66 is "very cruel" and pensalises those who have saved and made provisions to retire earlier.

Image caption Mr Niblett estimates that he will lose £4,900 if he retires at 66

"I'm 58 and hoped to retire at 65, if not sooner, but this is such a sudden change no-one like me has time to put in place the funding we'll need for the extra year.

"My wife has already been hit by having her work term extended to 62, which means the government is taking about £9,000 from her pension pot, even though she's been in virtually full-time employment since the age of 15.

"Now as an average person with an average pension scheme - who was relying on taking their pension at the age of 65 - I have been told I can't do so for another year, and that equates to £4,900.

"That's £14,859 that has been taken from me and my family in one fell swoop," he says.

He says he understands that the country is in trouble, but says things like the 2.5% rise in VAT are much fairer because they are gradual, and "everyone pays a bit more over time".

"My objection is not having time to put plans in place. I'm Mr Average, I took out a private pension about 20 years ago and have contributed since then, I'm not a wealthy man.

"It's OK for younger people, things can be put into place for them but to suddenly bring in this change for people my age is unfair," he says.

KEVIN ROBINS, 61, AIRLINE MANAGER

Kevin Robins, an airline manager from Feltham, says raising the pension age might seem unfair to those approaching retirement, but something had to give.

"There will be winners and losers in this. It's purely economics - everybody is passionate about it, but there is a dwindling pot," he says.

But he says the concept of a default retirement age should be scrapped altogether.

"To force someone to retire at 65 - or 66 - is discrimation.

"Companies should not be able to legally sack you, it is absolutely wrong. If someone is competent at 64 years and 11 months, they are competent at 65.

"If people want to continue to get up and go to work and do a useful job, they should be able to," he says.

SUE SHIELDS, 48, UNEMPLOYED

Image caption Sue Shields and her husband are concerned about the future

Sue Shields, from Milton Keynes, lost her retail job two months ago and says raising the pension age makes her concerned about her future.

"My partner has got back problems, he used to work on the railway doing engineering but he couldn't handle the cold so went into warehousing. We haven't got the income we had and I don't know how long he is going to be able to work, so this will hit us hard."

Having also suffered from ill-health after a knee operation in 1990, Mrs Shields says the health side of things is also a worry for her.

"As we get older, we get more ailments, more sickly and have less energy. Unfortunately it comes to everybody and you can't avoid it.

"Some people might want to keep working, but not everybody nationwide wants to work until they drop," she says.

She says her husband and her were looking forward to retiring in Cornwall but now she is unsure they will be able to afford to.

"Neither of us have private pensions, so we are reliant on the state.

"Even if we had a bit of pension money that would be something, but the decision has been taken out of our hands.

"The government should be encouraging us to enjoy our last 20 years, but instead it feels like the slavery days," she says.

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