Who voted to increase the pension age?

The government’s decision to increase the official retirement age should be put to the public vote, writes Robin Pascoe.

The government’s decision to increase the official retirement age is being sold as one of the ways to help the Netherlands out of the economic crisis.
But of course, the fact that you can pick up your state pension at the age of 65 is nothing to do with current events. Even the fact that so few people here actually work past the age of 60 is not a reason for the economic downturn, the slump in stock market prices and the disastrous state of so many pension funds assets.
(Indeed, pension funds themselves should shoulder a lot of the blame for their falling coverage ratios – given the way they moved out of nice safe bonds into shares – with all the risks they entail.)
But nevertheless, the government wants to make us all work longer to pay the bill for bailing out banks and industry.
The implications of increasing the retirement age are enormous. How will it work if you work in another country where the pension age is still 65, for example?
Indeed, an increase in the state pension age is a pretty major government move. It will affect all of us, and yet none of us have had a say in the decision-making process.
An increase in the state pension age was not part of any political party programme at the last election. It was not part of the coalition accord which underpins current government policy. The government has simply decided that we should all work longer and we, apparently, have no choice but to go along with it.
If we all have to help pay the bill for the crisis, we should be given a say in how it is done.

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