Campaigners against Government plans to increase the state pension age for women have recorded a minor victory after a petition reached the 100,000 petition signatures needed for a parliamentary debate to discuss the matter.
In 1940, the state pension age for women was set at 60 and 65 for men. The retirement age for both genders was equalised in 1995, with the then Conservative government passing a law to raise the pension age for women from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020.
By 2007, the Labour government announced that the pension age for men and women would rise to 66 between April 2024 and April 2026. For women, these changes began in 2010, but then Chancellor George Osborne brought the hike to 65 forward to between 2016 and 2018. Likewise, the blanket pension age rise to 66 will now take effect by 2020.
Campaign for a fairer pension age for women
The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign subsequently launched an online petition to protest the changes. They believe that women born on or after 6 April 1951, who are affected by the revised state pension age for women, should have the same pension rights as those born on or before 5 April 1950.
Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black was due to lead a backbench debate on the subject on 7 January, but passing the 100,000 signature target now installs Waspi’s petition for consideration as a full parliamentary debate.
Government stands firm on pension age for women
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has remained steadfast on the matter. It said it would not be revisiting the arrangements and that all those affected had been directly informed. “The policy decision to increase women’s SPA is designed to remove the inequality between men and women,” the DWP told Citywire.
“The cost of prolonging this inequality would be several billions of pounds. Parliament extensively debated the issue and listened to all arguments both for and against the acceleration of the timetable to remove this inequality. The decision was approved by Parliament in 2011 and there is no new evidence to consider,” they added.
The 2014 Pensions Act allows for a six-yearly independent review of the SPA. The first of which will conclude by May 2017.
Confusing pension forecast changes
The changing pension forecast for upcoming retirees has caused widespread confusion. The current state pension age for women is 62 years and ten months. However, this increases every few weeks, forcing many women to wait months – and even years – for their hard-earned state pension.
Susan Sutherland, 60, who has motor neurone disease, told This is MONEY:
I may not be around to claim the pension I have earned and paid for. I felt sick to my stomach when I found out about the delay and so angry. I think it’s an absolute disgrace that I am having to wait so long. I feel as though women of my generation have been treated very shabbily.
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