The Economic Value of Healthy Ageing and Working Longer

Apr 13, 2010 | REPORTS

This report summarises two public debates on “The Economic Value of Healthy Ageing and Working Longer”

With average life expectancy increasing at the rate of around two years every decade, and the state pension age increasing to 68 by 2046, addressing the costs of demographic change is high up the political agenda. Among the main challenges are, firstly, ensuring that healthy life expectancy (HLE) increases at the same rate as life expectancy, and enabling older people to work for longer.

ILC-UK and the Actuarial Profession hosted two events to debate these issues. The first was held at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 17th February 2010 and the second on 3rd March 2010 at the Actuarial Institute in London. Both debates have been led by Les Mayhew of the Cass Business School at City University. Professor Mayhew presented findings from his study Increasing Longevity and the Economic Value of Healthy Ageing and Working Longer.

The panel for the debate on 17th February included:

  • Stewart Ritchie, Actuary Faculty Council, Scotland (Chair)
  • Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland
  • John Storey,Older People and Age Team, Equality Unit, Scottish Government
  • Tom Boardman, Director of Retirement Strategy and Innovation, Prudential
  • David Manion, Age Concern and Help the Aged, Scotland

The panel for the debate on 3 March included:

  • Robert Laslett, Director of Private Pensions and Cross-cutting Analysis and Chief Economist for Pensions, Department of Work and Pensions
    Tom Boardman, Director of Retirement Strategy and Innovation, Prudential
    Emily Grundy, Professor of Demographic Gerontology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Jemima Ayton introduced the debate on 3rd March on behalf of the Actuarial Profession. She noted that actuaries’ work on longevity tended to focus on risks to the life and pensions industry rather than the wider social and economic implications.The debate on 3rd March was chaired by Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK.

In both debates, the panel considered the questions set out below:

  • Is increasing longevity being matched by increases in HLE?
    To what extent is poor health a barrier to working for longer?
    What role could prevention and health promotion play in securing a healthier future and improved economic prospects?
    Will planned increases in state pension age deliver the expected large savings in public expenditure, and are there are offsetting costs that need to be taken into account?
    What are the supply-side barriers to progress including socio-economic inequality, obesity and mental health?
    What is the role of wider demographic considerations, such as population size and immigration?