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Sweden mulls raising retirement age

Published: 08 Feb 2011 16:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2011 16:48 GMT+01:00

Sweden's social insurance minister has announced that the government has appointed a new committee to investigate whether the country should consider raising the retirement age from the current 65.

"There are too many who leave before turning 65 and there are quite a few more who could work past 65 than those who do not," social insurance minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he does not actually foresee Sweden maintaining a fixed retirement age in the future.

The first relatively simple step compared to other possible changes would be to increase the limit on the age an employee can legally stay at a job from 67 to 69.

"As average life expectancy rises and the material demands in old age increase, more people will have to work a bit longer than today. Otherwise, pensions will shrink," he said.

The new pension commission, whose directives have not yet ben formalised, should take a broad approach, according to Kristersson.

"We want to have a broad analysis of how people can work a little longer," he said.

Kristersson pointed out that even in the short time since the centre-right parties and the centre-left Social Democrats agreed in the 1990s to reform the country's pension system, average life expectancy for men has increased by two years and one year for women.

The analysis will also include examining whether workers should usually retire at 65, as is current practice, or whether they may wait longer before leaving the workforce.

The opposition Social Democrats say that they want to concentrate on reforms so that more people can work until they are 65 instead of retiring earlier.

"Our priority is not to raise the age limit," said Social Democrat Tomas Eneroth, vice president of the Riksdag's social insurance committee and the party's representative in the pension working group.

Eneroth thinks that the ruling Moderates and the government unfortunately locked themselves into a retirement age of 69 in the government's policy declaration.

However, he added that at the same time, he appreciates that Kristersson says he wants a broad review of the possibilities of producing more hours worked.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:55 February 8, 2011 by Zala Russe
Is there some kind of reciprocal arrangement between the UK and Sweden, by which they each 'borrow' the worst policy initiatives off each other?
22:45 February 8, 2011 by reason
This becomes necessary as we live longer. Simple math. And not in any way unreasonable, since we also stay healthy longer. If we expect to extend our lifespans even more in the future, it might not be a bad idea to set the retirement age at some fixed fraction of the average life expectancy.
00:31 February 9, 2011 by Swedesmith
@reason: yes and no. I don't relish the thought of a 69 year old policeman... or a pole dancer, either.
08:42 February 9, 2011 by HYBRED
It would just keep the jobs away from the young that are entering the work force. Benefits would be paid out one way or the other. And if the young has a family, the benefits would probably total up to be more than a pension. Obviously the government wants you to die as quickly as posible after you retire so they have to pay out less.
09:47 February 9, 2011 by Rey Stockholm
What does "Math" mean ?

Is it related to mathematics ? I always assume mathematics by definition must involve working with more than one number.
12:23 February 9, 2011 by UScitizen
It's getting to be just as bad in America. They keep raising the retirement age there also. I'm glad I retired at 58 and moved to Sweden.
15:11 February 9, 2011 by Great Scott
Comment: The current Swedish government is desperately trying to sell everything the state currently owns. This money is then going into tax breaks for the better off. None of this money will find its way to where it belongs i.e. normal working people. It is then the normal working people who are then told to work longer, just to raise taxes for Sweden's loony government's incompetents. Render the rich, punish the poor, the true slogan of the conservatives.
16:36 February 9, 2011 by TwoToTango
The 65 year retirement was set when 65 years was the average lifespan. So in a sense it makes sense to raise it even further than 69 to something like 75.

But it disturbs me that the government seems to think that the retirement age is the reason that more and more people are retiring way too early. (And often not for adequate reasons).
18:22 February 20, 2011 by dan_sparrow
Damm same old story, these people never learn???

We have seen this in many countries, sweden is going to hell and soon my packing my stuff and running away
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