Pension firms need people to die before they get old

THE Who song My Generation contains the line penned by Pete Townshend "hope I die before I get old".

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It's not only the now ageing guitarist who wished for a premature death, the pensions industry hopes - no, it needs - people to die before they get old.

The contributions of those who die early subsidise the payouts for those who live longer than expected and assist in boosting the eye-watering, bonus-enabling profits of the insurance and pensions industry.

The state system is not hugely different in that the more people live for longer beyond retirement age, the less affordable pensions become, unless you increase taxes of course.

This week the Scottish Government provided details of life expectancy and state pension payouts.

It concluded the system is short-changing Scots because we have a lower life expectancy so receive less than the rest of the UK.

Look at the figures and it's hard to disagree.

The average difference is £10,000 in pensions pay-ments between Scotland and the UK. For Glasgow the figure is £50,000.

Those living longest in Scotland are still getting less than those living longest in England because there is a life expectancy gap, and those dying early are dying even sooner than those with the lowest expectancy in England.

The argument is Scotland doesn't need to have the increases in retirement age planned by Westminster.

Look at the figures from another angle, the difference between the lowest and highest in Scotland, and a greater discrepancy becomes clear. It ranges from 72.6 in Glasgow to 82.9 years in East Dunbartonshire.

Look where these areas are on the deprivation scale and it's obvious the greater difference is not so much between Scotland and England but between richer and poorer areas.

ALMOST as startling is the gap between rich and poor in England.

The lowest life expectancy in England is Blackpool at 74 years and the highest is Dorset at almost 83 years.

The average difference in life expectancy between Scotland and England, according to the Registrars of Scotland is 2.5 years.

The difference between the lowest in Scotland, Glasgow and the highest, in East Dunbartonshire, is 7.5 years for a man and 4.9 for a woman.

Why should this be?

At a Holyrood committee this week international health inequality expert Professor Michael Marmot told MSPs child poverty was a political decision.

Tackle the causes of low life expectancy, poverty and health inequalities, and people might live longer and be able to claim more old age pension.

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