The government will have to invest significantly in occupational health schemes if the construction industry is to comply with proposals to raise the state retirement age, a leading pensions provider has said.

The warning from construction pensions provider B&CE came after the government issued its long-awaited pensions white paper last Thursday. The government's proposals include raising the retirement age to 68 by 2044.

John Jory, B&CE deputy chief executive, said of the proposals: "Currently, the average age of retirement for a construction worker is about 62, so there will have to be significant investment in areas such as occupational health if the government is looking to increase productive working lives."

However, B&CE welcomed the government's move towards "auto-enrolment" in a pensions savings scheme, whereby all workers would be automatically included unless they opted out. B&CE is piloting auto-enrolment with construction companies, and is set to report its findings to the government.

Jory said: "As a pioneer of auto-enrolment, we are confident that this is a step forward in resolving the lack of voluntary pension savings, particularly among lower to moderate earners, the group traditionally left behind when it comes to retirement planning."

He added: "We welcome the government's efforts to tackle the long-term issue of UK pension provision and look forward to initiatives aimed at further simplification, as referred to in the white paper."

Under the proposals the government has committed itself to limiting the spread of means testing, which many see as the single biggest disincentive for lower to middle income earners over pensions.

The government has also highlighted the importance of giving the self-employed access to the scheme.