Britain's state pension age will have to rise to 67 by 2030 despite widespread public hostility, according to a report by an influential think tank.
The report, by the Institute for Public Policy Research, argues that "raising the state pension age is vital if the UK pensions system is to remain sustainable and cope with the pressure of an ageing population."
However it admits that the change would prove widely unpopular because most people view retirement at or before 65 as "sacred" and are hostile to the idea that they might have to work longer to mitigate Britain's rapidly-aging population.
"Our research shows that the public are not convinced and distrust the evidence from employers, the financial services industry and Government, basing their expectations on the experiences of friends and family," said the report's author, Peter Robinson.
"This distrust means it is vital that the government achieve its objective of a popular consensus for pension reform."
Most people expect their health to decline from the age of 70, he added, and do not accept that that they will live longer than their parents.
But Robinson argued that making it clear to the electorate that the state pension age would rise to 67 between 2020 and 2030 would "give a clear signal to the current workforce that we will need to work longer and ensure the overall settlement is affordable over the long run".
Although the government is still waiting for the final recommendations from the Pensions Commission, headed by former CBI chide Adair Turner, all the signs are that a rise in the retirement age - if not the state pension age – is inevitable.
In an interview with Sky Television earlier this month, Adair Turner hinted that his proposals would include a combination of later retirement, higher taxes and increased personal savings.
"People are going to have to work longer," He said. "The important thing is to distinguish the idea of people working longer from the issue of when you get the state pension."
But pensions minister, Stephen Timms, has insisted that the government has no plans to increase the state pension age, preferring instead to offer financial incentives to people who defer taking their state pensions until after the age of 65.
The TUC, meanwhile, has attacked the idea of raising the retirement age, describing it as a "quick fix solution".
Instead, the TUC has claimed that increasing the proportion of the working-age population in paid jobs from its current seven out of 10 to eight out of 10 would increase national income to a sufficient extent to support the growing elderly population.