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We’ll have to work longer and live on less in old age, warns top civil servant


The head of the Civil Service has warned that the public will have to cut costs and work for longer to fund their retirement.

Sir Bob Kerslake said the Government had failed to hold an “honest debate” about future pensions funding and that it was “absolutely clear” the pension age would have to rise. He warned that people would face the prospect of a poorer old age.

Sir Bob, who is also Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, was made head of the Civil Service last year when Sir Gus O’Donnell retired.

“It is absolutely clear that  we will have to work longer,” he told the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change.

He added: “And to that extent I think the Government has faced up to that issue but I’m not yet sure that the country has faced up to that yet.

“There are really only three things you can do about pensions: one is to pay more when you are in work; the second is to work longer; and the third is to live with less when you retire. Probably all three are going to have to come into play here.”

The Office for National Statistics showed that women in Britain are now on average living until they are 89 and men to 85.