'Graduates will have to work until 70'

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Indy Politics

The Government is to give first-time buyers a leg-up on to the property ladder ­ as it warns some of them to expect to work until they are 70.

The Government is to give first-time buyers a leg-up on to the property ladder ­ as it warns some of them to expect to work until they are 70.

Gordon Brown will outline plans this week to extend "shared-equity" schemes that can halve mortgage costs for young people seeking to buy their own home.

But graduates were warned last night not to expect a state pension until they are 70 by the author of the official review into the crisis in old age income.

Adair Turner, a former director of the Confederation of British Industry, raised the highly controversial prospect, in a newspaper interview, of less-educated workers given the option of taking state pensions from 65 as graduates are made to wait five years.

"One of the sad facts is that although life expectancy is going up, it is going up least in lower socio-economic groups," said Mr Turner.

"So we have to be sensitive to that when we put up the state pension age. For example, the person who starts work at 16 would be able to get something at 65.

"The person who went to university and started serious work at 23 is not going to get it until they are 70."

Mr Turner also floated the prospect of a compulsory savings scheme that would guarantee workers a minimum annuity of £12,000.

The Chancellor, meanwhile, announced proposals that will help 100,000 would-be homeowners buy a share of their property.

"Shared equity" schemes, in which the Government helps take a stake in properties, are to be extended from housing association to private homes.

* David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Work and Pension, has told The Independent on Sunday he has no intention of taking a hard line with the disabled because he has overcome his own disadvantages.

"I'm not forcing anyone to do what I've done, because other people have pressures that I didn't face," he said.

Mr Blunkett did, however, warn those on Incapacity Benefit suffering from stress or depression that "work is good for you".

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