Workers 'able to stay on until 70'

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The Independent Online

The mandatory retirement age of 65 is to be scrapped, according to Cabinet papers, said to have been leaked to The Sunday Times. People opting to stay at work until they are 70 will be given full employment rights as Britain falls into line with an EU directive.

The mandatory retirement age of 65 is to be scrapped, according to Cabinet papers, said to have been leaked to The Sunday Times. People opting to stay at work until they are 70 will be given full employment rights as Britain falls into line with an EU directive.

Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, is said to have sent a letter to ministers warning of an impending storm over the change, which is opposed by business and union leaders. Although entitlement to the state pension is not affected, the change will put pressure on elderly workers to stay in harness for longer than they want, unions warn.

It is estimated that raising the retirement age will mean that more than 20 per cent of people - and a third of men - will die before drawing their occupational pensions. Business leaders fear a flood of industrial tribunal cases by those resisting retirement.

Ms Hewitt warns that "there has not been consensus" on the issue.

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