Monday 9 March 2015 12:18 am

Increasing life expectancy could cause problems for UK economy

Life expectancy in the UK is improving, which could present the country with a “significant economic danger” if the extra years of peoples’ lives are not spent in good health and prosperity, academics have warned. Research conducted by Cass Business School in partnership with the International Longevity Centre (ILC) UK has found that age at death will increasingly cluster in the 90s. The life expectancy of men and women is also expected to converge with men in particular expected to live longer over the coming decades. Male life expectancy at birth is now almost 80 years, representing an advance of 14 years since 1950 thanks to reductions in smoking, better health care and higher standards of living. Chief executive of the ILC Baroness Sally Greengross said: “Higher standards of living and improving healthcare are clearly beneficial, however, an ageing population requires that detailed provisions are put in place”. Les Mayhew, professor of statistics at Cass Business School, said that while this success in increasing life expectancy could be an economic boon, it could also pose a threat to the UK economy. He said that later retirement would require a capacity to work for longer and “may also mean downsizing one’s home at an earlier stage”, which would have significant implications for the housing market. “As a result, we need better information about life expectancy at both the population and individual level to enable better decision making.”