HC Deb 23 January 2003 vol 398 cc427-8W
Mr. Laws

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to allow all staff in his Department to retire at age 65; what proportion of staff retire at or before age 60; and if he will make a statement. [92553]

Mr. Boateng

Retirement policy is a matter for individual public sector employers and detailed numerical information is not held centrally. Government policy as set out in last year's pensions green paper, "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement (Cm 5677)" is to encourage people to work up to the age of 65 and beyond if they wish. Public service employers are reviewing their retirement policies to take account of that. In local government, the normal pension age is already 65 for new entrants. Longer serving staff may have rights to an earlier normal pension age, between 60 and 65, depending on their length of service.

As set out in the Green Paper, the Government proposes to increase the normal pension age from 60 to 65 for new entrants to pension schemes such the NHS, teachers and civil service. Some 75 per cent. of civil servants already have the option to retire at age 65 and the numbers able to serve beyond age 60 are expected to increase. NHS staff are generally encouraged to continue to work beyond age 60 and those retiring on age grounds typically leave well after age 60. In the state education sector, teachers can normally work until age 65 if they wish and they can work beyond 65 by mutual agreement between the individual and the employer.

In the armed forces, police and fire services the great majority of people leave before age 60 and pensions for those retiring are payable well before 60. There are a few posts in these services where individuals may be retained beyond age 60. There are a few posts in these services where individuals may be retained beyond age 60.