The pensions problem: who will pay for our next rainy day?

The social insurance fund was running out of money even before it was used to pay for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment – but raising the pension age is an issue few parties want to confront

When the contributory state pension was first introduced in 1961, workers had to be 70 years old to get it. The average life expectancy was 68 years for men and 70 years for women. Picture: Fergal Phillips

There are 21,000 people who have an extra reason to look forward to 2021. They are those turning 66 who, all going to plan, should have had to work an extra year or sign on for the dole before qualifying for the state pension.

Instead, the pension age became a general election issue and now the coalition government is going to pass new legislation this month to stop it increasing to 67 on January 1.