Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his admiration for the Norwegian pension system, where the retirement age increases as life expectancy goes up, but insisted he does not want people to 'work until you drop'.
Speaking at the Northern Future Forum in Sweden yesterday, Mr Cameron said he was 'very interested' in the Norwegian system, which he said had made retirement a 'process rather than a cliff edge' by making the state pension age more flexible.
The changes which the Norwegian government began introducing last year involve a new life expectancy adjustment being made to the retirement age. Higher payments are made to people who work the longest, up to the age of 75, while the also system aims to encourage people to both work and claim a pension.
Following discussions with Prime Ministers from eight Nordic and Baltic nations, Mr Cameron said everyone agreed there was a need for 'greater flexibility' in the pension and retirement options available to older people.
'For an increasing number of people, retirement will become a process rather than an event and I think what we're talking about here is to have things like flexible working,' he said.
In particular, he said it was important to make sure there was no 'culture of discriminating against older people'.
He added: 'What we're all saying is we need to have greater flexibility. We need to have a system that allows people greater choices and greater chances.'
Mr Cameron stressed, however, that 'I don't think anyone is saying you must work until you're 75'. He added: 'No one is talking about people who have done hard manual labour continuing inthose jobs year after year, but we should give people chances and choices to do other jobs.'
He claimed the coalition's plans, which will see the retirement age increase from 65 to 67 in 2026, would make it easier for people to stay on and work if they wanted to. He also said a later retirement age was necessary to ensure that an aging population still received a 'good' and 'well-funded' state pension.