By Daniel Hunter
Since The Queen ascended the throne 60 years ago, the structure of British society has shifted. The number of pensioners has doubled. 44 times as many Britons are reaching age 100. And we are living nearly a decade longer.
There are 5.6 million more pensioners today than in 1952, rising from 6.8 million to 12.4 million. The percentage of pensioners in the population has increased by six per cent from 14 per cent in 1952.
And there are around 13,120 more centenarians, an increase on 300 in 1952. The Queen has sent around 110,000 telegrams and messages to centenarians during her reign.
“In the past 60 years we have seen man land on the moon, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the Internet and digital technology. Pensioners now make up 20 per cent of the population and make a huge contribution to society," Pensions Minister Steve Webb said.
“Yet the state pension age has not moved on and the state pension system has trapped millions of people in its means-testing maw for decades, discouraging people from saving and outfoxing any attempt to fix it until now.
“We will bring forward the state pension age to 67 by 2028 and a bring in a simple single-tier pension so people will know for the first time what their state pension will be and can save more for a comfortable retirement on top.”
A boy born in 1952 was expected to live to 78 and a girl to 83. A boy born in 2012 is expected to live to 91 and a girl to 94.
And while the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh continue their busy schedule of Royal engagements, very few people are reported as employed at aged 86 or over. Around 350,000 women aged 65 or over are in work today and around 540,000 men aged 65 or over.
In 1952 there were around 1.5 per cent of women aged 65 or over in the workforce. Today that has increased to 6.5 per cent.
Under five million pensioners claimed a state pension in 1952 compared to around 11.5 million today, with a further million living overseas. The state pension was £1 12s a week and you claimed your pension with your Old Age Pension Book at the Post Office.
The system assumed that a married woman was likely to be dependent on her husband and there was no cover for time taken out of work to look after children or care for someone.
The state pension is currently £107.45 a week, an increase of £5.30 since last year and the largest cash rise in history. Most women and men now get a pension in their own right and can get National Insurance credits for childcare or caring for a sick or disabled person. And most people get their pension paid directly into an account and can choose to be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
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