The TUC is calling for the government to delay raising the state pension on the back of new ONS figures showing the widening life expectancy gap between wealthier and more deprived areas.
ONS figures show that for women the ‘healthy life expectancy gap’ is now widening, with those in richer areas enjoying on average almost 20 extra years of good health. The TUC says there are concerns that women in poorer areas may have little support if forced to leave work through ill-health but without the state pension to fall back on.
The ONS figures show that when it comes to life expectancy there is now a 10 year’s gap in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest parts of England.
Men in some parts of England live an average of 9.4 years longer than those in the poorer districts, while the gap for women is 7.6 years. This data goes up to the end of 2019 so does not include the impact of Covid-19 on life expectancy.
However the difference is starker for ‘healthy life expectancy’. According to the ONS the difference in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of the country is 19 years for me and 19.3 years for women.
TUC pensions officer Jack Jones says: “Everybody should be able to look forward to a decent retirement. But the gap in healthy life expectancy between rich and poorer areas remains huge, and in the case of women is widening.
“The government must rethink its plans to raise the state pension age. This risks making inequalities worse and pushing more people into poverty.
“It makes no sense to make people, who are forced out of the labour due to ill health, to wait longer for their pension.”
TUC research published last month revealed that that more than half a million (534,876) workers aged 60 to 65 have had to leave the workplace due to medical reasons.
Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Knowsley, Hull, Manchester and Blackpool are among the places with the highest number of areas of deprivation.