One in ten homeowners over the age of 75 is being forced to carry on working to pay off a mortgage or unsecured debt.

Research published by the insurance company Aviva shows that the average level of debt among those in this position is £72,500 and highlights the difficulties some pensioners with no savings and inadequate pension provision are facing.

Aviva’s quarterly Real Retirement Report also found that almost a third of pensioners claimed that they were pushed into retiring earlier than they would have liked by their employer highlighting the levels of age discrimination still evident in the workplace. Some pensioners who are forced to retire early face an uphill struggle to maintain a basic standard of living due to increased levels of debt or reduced income from savings so are forced to find part-time work.

More than 50 per cent of over-55s do not have any savings in place for their retirement and are likely to have to continue working beyond the current retirement age of 65. One in five homeowners over 55 still has a mortgage with an average outstanding loan of £64,511. The government is planning to scrap rules that force workers into retirement at the 65 raising the prospect of an army of older workers forced to stay in employment due to debt, inflation and poor pension provision.

Clive Bolton, ‘at retirement’ director at Aviva, said: “Over the last six months, we have seen a significant increase in the number of over-55s who are worried about the rising cost of living.

“Inflationary pressures have become stronger over this period, whilst interest rates have remained at historically low levels. The Government’s Emergency Budget and Autumn Comprehensive Spending Review have also left this age group feeling nervous that they will receive less support from the State. However, we have seen the over-55s make steps to adjust their spending accordingly, which is encouraging.”