Plans to raise the state pension age to 67 will be brought forward by 8 years in a move it is hoped will save the British economy around £60billion.
The announcement was made today by Chancellor George Osborne as part of the autumn budget statement, and will affect all those aged under 52 years old.
Under current law state pension age is set to rise to 67 between 2034 and 2036, but will instead reach 67 by 2026. State pension age is already due to rise from 60 to 65 for women by November 2018.
The decision could have far reaching consequences for workers who will have to wait longer for any state support to see them through retirement.
Osborne explained the move was to secure the "long term future" of state pensions. He added: "Our generation has been warned that the costs of providing decent state pensions are going to become more and more unaffordable unless we take further action."
In response to the statement Charity Director for Age UK Michelle Mitchell said:
"The decision to speed up the timetable to increase the State Pension Age to 67 will come as a bitter blow to many people fast approaching retirement especially those in ill-health, caring for relatives and those out of work.
"Age UK recognises that as life expectancy increases it is reasonable to consider increases to State Pension age and longer working lives, however this decision has been based on no published detailed analysis. Average life expectancy must not be the only factor that is considered as at the moment the huge disparities in healthy life expectancy across the country means that the poorest socio-economic groups will be required to sacrifice proportionately more of their retirement."
In better news for current pensioners, Osborne also confirmed in his statement that the current state pension rate will rise by £5.30 to £107.45 per week from April 2012 in line with September inflation in spite of rumours to the contrary.