‘Demographic pressures’ are prompting the government to adapt its pensions policy.

The government has announced that it is to bring forward the rise in state pension age from 67 to 68.

The age increase will now take place between 2037 and 2039, seven years earlier than had originally been intended.

This decision will save the government an estimated £74 billion, but the unions have poured scorn on the move labeling it a ‘bitter blow’ to those who work in the public sector, as their workplace  pension is tied to the state pension age.

“This move is not based on people living longer. It’s a cynical move to make many low-paid workers in the NHS and local government either wait longer for their pension, or take a pension cut if they finish work early,” Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, told The Financial Times.

The government claims that it faces a ticking time bomb of differing demographic pressures, which will see the numbers of people reaching pensionable age ballooning over the next few years.

The Office for National Statistics has forecast that the number of people above state pension age in the UK is set to grow from 12.4m in 2017 to 16.9m by 2042.

“Because life expectancy is increasing, people affected by this rise will be spending longer on average in receipt of the state pension than people have spent over the age of 65 over the last 25 years, and on average will receive more in state pension over their retirement than previous generations,” David Gauke, the pensions secretary, commented.

The plan is expected to reduce state pension spending by 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2039/40.

The current state pension age for men is 65 and 64 for women, this will equalise by 2018 and then rise to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028.

The government’s proposals will not affect anyone born on or before April 5 1970.