Today's tots could 'live to be 120'

Babies born today could eventually spend half of their lives in retirement, ministers are expected to claim this week, as they set out the need for reform of the pension system.

A quarter of girls under 20 and a fifth of boys are already expected to live to 100, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. But medical advances and improved diets could mean people living even longer, with growing numbers celebrating their 110th or even 120th birthday. Most pensions are designed to fund around 20 years out of work.

The coalition is moving the state pension age to 66 for men and women by 2020, but future changes could be linked to life expectancy. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, previously warned that "in a country in which 11 million of us will live to be 100, we simply cannot go on paying the state pension at an age that was set early in the last century."

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