59 is not old, says Brit Pensions Minister

London, May 18: Britain's Pensions Minister Steve Webb has challenged Britain's idea of youth, arguing that "old age" does not begin at 59.

Webb spoke out after a large-scale European study found that British people on average believe that old age starts up to nine years earlier than almost all the rest of the continent.he Greeks hold on to their youth the longest, believing you are not old until you turn 68.

Only Turks view old age as beginning earlier than Brits do - at 55.

Webb, 45, is the driving force behind the planned increase of the State pension age to 66, up from 60 for women and 65 for men.

"The idea that 59 is old belongs in the past," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying in a speech to the Chatham House think-thank.

'We need to challenge our perceptions of what "old age" actually means. It is no longer the time where people are sitting back and enjoying the "twilight" of their lives," he said.

'Instead it is often a time for new choices and new opportunities.'

He said Britain must accept that people can be active for longer thanks to advances in medical science.

The study of attitudes to age in 28 European countries found that Norway, Sweden, Holland, France, Russia, Slovenia, Poland, Belgium and Denmark view old age as starting between 60 and 65.

The Germans consider that youth does not end until 45 and the Cypriots until 51, the research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and carried out at the University of Kent showed.

Britons also view the elderly as less 'competent' than in many other countries, and as a bigger burden on health services.

Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com