In this country pensioners matter to MPs - they really, really matter for one simple reason. Of all sections of society they're the most likely to vote.

So it's hardly surprising the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and leading Labour front-benchers have been falling over themselves recently to insist the "triple lock" is safe.

The triple lock is the formula by which the basic state pension goes up either in line with inflation, average earnings growth or by 2.5%, whichever is greatest.

I must declare an interest here. Within the next year I shall become eligible for the basic state pension and from a purely personal point of view I'll be glad to see the triple lock in place.

However I do worry about its cost - and I'm starting to come to the conclusion that governments need to reconsider the whole concept of retirement legislation.

The age at which we retire is going up. For most of my career my retirement age was 65. For me it's gone up to 66 and for those a few years younger than me it's gone up to 67.

At the same time the requirement employers could make to force their staff to retire when the reached pension age was abolished.

This is all logical - when the state pension age was set at 65 for men and 60 for women in the years immediately after the second world life expectancy figures suggested most people would be claiming for about 10 years.

East Anglian Daily Times: Most people can expect a longer retirement than earlier generations had.Most people can expect a longer retirement than earlier generations had. (Image: PA)

Medicine and lifestyle changes have transformed this so many more people can expect to claim a pension for up to 30 years or beyond.

At the same time more people are choosing to work beyond retirement age - and many employers are happy to work around that.

The idea of graduated retirement is coming in which will suit many - including myself.

I moved from full-time working to part-time when I was 62. It suits me. I think it suits my employer. 

What I do know is that if I was still working full-time I would be ticking off the days until my state pension kicks in and I could put my feet up.

As it is I'm undecided about how long I will continue working part-time in a job I love (most of the time!) but I know I can make any decision in my own good time.

I'm sure there must be millions of people like me in this - but there are also millions of workers who do need to retire earlier, particularly those in physically demanding jobs like the police, fire service or other strenuous manual work.

This is where the government will struggle. There is already talk of putting the retirement age up to 68 by 2040 and suggestions it might hit 70 by the middle of the century.

That seems eminently sensible - but there have to be safeguards for those people, and there will be millions, who feel burnt-out by their early 60s.

And they should not be ignored or made to feel like second-class citizens.

One thing that should be blindingly obvious to politicians, as well, is that that those who will be affected by the changes should be kept informed at every stage of the decision-making process.

The shameful way that the WASPI women were kept in the dark by governments of both parties in the run up to their pension changes should never happen again.

I'm sure that for the vast majority of people, if they are kept informed about what is happening to their future they will accept that some changes are made as lifestyles evolve.

And governments must level with us to admit that pension policy must be about more than "The triple lock is safe with us!" as an election slogan!


The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of Paul Geater and do not necessarily reflect views held by this newspaper, its sister publications or its owner and publisher Newsquest Media Group Ltd.