Keele researchers contribute to national pension age policy review
Researchers from Keele University’s School of Medicine have contributed to a Government review which aims to identify research that can be used to inform decisions on the UK’s state pension age.
Dr Ross Wilkie and Dr Marty Lynch were invited by Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe to discuss their work on Healthy Working Life Expectancy as part of the UK Independent State Pension Age Review. Their research estimates the average number of years that populations are healthy and in work, and has identified inequalities by socio-demographic, geographical, health and workplace factors.
Their research, published in Nature Aging, found that the number of years people can remain healthy and in work is increasing, but not at the same pace as life expectancy, and not at a rate that aligns with the increasing state pension age.
Additional research led by Dr Lynch estimated that, on average, people in England from age fifty can expect to be healthy and in work for nine more years, and the results raised questions over whether a sufficient proportion of people can work until they would be able to receive the state pension.
Dr Lynch, Lecturer in Public Health, said: “Health plays a major role in whether a person can work until an older age. Our research focuses on how many working years are being achieved in good health. Our research findings contribute to the discussion around possible implications and considerations relating to the rising State Pension age.”
Dr Wilkie, Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Epidemiology, said: “It is pleasing that the public health research at Keele has drawn interest from policy makers and other stakeholders. We have a strong track record in research on work at Keele, and in developing novel approaches to using data to understand population health. Our work on healthy working life expectancy is being considered alongside that on intergenerational fairness and sustainability and affordability of state pensions.
“The Healthy Working Life Expectancy indicator, which has been operationalised in Dr Lynch’s work, is also being considered by other UK government agencies as a key measure of work-related population health.
“The indicator is an important measure of population health because it combines the functional ability of populations to work as well as having appropriate and optimal conditions for people to participate in paid work, such as good workplace conditions and employment opportunities. Our work encourages further focus on a multidisciplinary approach to improving health and work if extensions to working life are to be aimed for.”
Once completed, the recommendations of the review will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
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