Maintaining the state pension age at 65 - even with more generous benefits - is easily affordable if the Government meets its employment target of 80 per cent of those of working age in paid jobs, the TUC claims in a new report today.
It is an interesting idea from the TUC and might just be a way out of the pensions mess for the Government.
The TUC condemns raising the state pension age, possibly to 70, as a 'quick-fix' solution for dealing with the pensions crisis.
The problem is graphic.
A century ago for everyone over 65 there were 20 people younger than 65, today there are six and by 2051 there will be just four.
But the dependency ratio is more complex than that, says the TUC report.
The number of children, who also have to be supported by the working population, is set to decrease, and the Government's target of getting eight in ten of the working age population into paid jobs, together with increasing prosperity, can support a growing elderly population.
Some regions, it points out, are already close to 80 per cent employment, with the Southeast, East Anglia and the South West all achieving more than 78 per cent.
But new jobs would need to be created in the least favoured regions and high unemployment areas to meet the target.
This, says the TUC, will require long term planning and stronger regional policies to create a million extra jobs by 2015, an extra two million by 2024 and an extra three million by 2042.
This is a big ask, which even the TUC, accepts.
"This is challenging," it puts it, with considerable understatement.
But if we repeat the performance of the last five years this "would see the UK comfortably on target".
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "We cannot ignore the fact that people are living longer and the number of pensioners will continue to grow.
"But there is an alternative to a 'work-til-you-drop' rise in the pension age, and that is to help those below the pension age get a job and make a full economic contribution so that there are more people in work under 65 paying taxes and creating wealth.
"It's perhaps not obvious, but the best way of paying for better pensions is to get the economy working even better.
"And best of all, we do not need to do this overnight, we have a generation in which to get this right".
And the TUC cautions that if the state pension age is increased it will be the poor, who have the shortest life expectancy, who will be forced to work longer - as those with private or occupational arrangements are far more likely to be able to retire before a new higher state pension age.
I'm not sure about that - many professional people I speak to are struggling to provide a pot sufficient to give them a decent level of income in retirement.
But that is by the way. Given the pensions issue is a massive vote loser, the Government would be well advised not to throw the report straight in the bin.
It is after all built round their own targets.