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Ed Waller

Sixty or sixty-five

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There appears to be a breakthrough which can be read here. Probably not what we'd hope, but good news for current members of the profession.

Edited by Ed Waller

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There appears to be a breakthrough which can be read here. Probably not what we'd hope, but good news for current members of the profession.

I heard this evening on the news that the CBI believed that this announcement was "bad news for taxpayers".

This I found interesting. I do not believe that they were speaking for all taxpayers.

Decent pensions, an effective NHS and Welfare State do of course depend to a great extent on tax revenues. The current tax burden falls disproportionately on the low paid and middle income groups. The CBI I contend was not speaking for us.

What the CBI actually seeks to avoid is genuinely progressive taxation hitting the rich and the super rich. Such a turn of events would be good news for the vast majority of taxpayers as it would result in sensible retirement ages, decent pensions, social security, universal benefits and greater social cohesion

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Retirement age here in Spain is already 65. You can retire earlier, once you have 35 years' contributions in the scheme, but you lose 8% of the pension for every year early you retire... So, at 56, I'm looking at another 9 more years... Still, the pension arrangements here are much better from the point of view that the full pension, if you get it, is much more generous. I'll be able to live quite comfortably on it if I live that long!

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It seems to me that it is not in the best interests of either teachers or the students that members of the profession should be forced to work until they are 65. I think that teachers should be treated like the police force. I believe teachers should retire at the same age as they do. All the evidence suggests that teachers seriously damage their health during the last few years of their career. Those that retire early from the classroom live on average several years longer than those who go to 60. That was one of the reasons I left the classroom at 55 to do other things. I was still enjoying it at the time but it only after you stop that you realize what it was doing to your health.

The problem with the current arrangement is that it concerns all public sector workers. Those working in the private sector are obviously not very happy about this as they will have to go on to 65. They argue that it is their taxes that are allowing public sector workers to retire five years before they do. From their perspective, this does not seem fair.

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I was lucky. I took early retirement in 1993 at the age of 51, with an enhanced package that credited me with 31.5 years of service instead of the 25 years that I had actually served. I was then Director of the Language Centre on the Ealing Campus of Thames Valley University (TVU), enjoying much more comfortable working conditions than teachers in secondary education. But life began to become unbearable due to the bloodbath resulting from the merger that brought TVU into existence. I was working a 12-hour day and often burning the midnight oil when I got home. So I took the early retirement package and began to enjoy life again. I continued to keep myself as busy as I wanted to be by doing consultancy work - and I still do so at the age of 63.

65 is a late age for retirement for men. I often walk my dog on a route that takes me through the graveyard of a country church. The inscriptions on the gravestones indicate that many men didn't survive long after their 65th birthday - although things have probably changed in the last generation.

Pensions are paid for through taxes. What we pay into retirement funds never covers what is drawn out, and the imblance will get worse as people live longer.

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