More broken promises – women and the State Pension Age
Earlier this year Sarah Veale, Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC, blogged on this site about the impact of changes to the State Pension Age on women.
Since then campaigns by Rachel Reeves MP, Age UK, Unions Together, and individual unions have all gathered momentum. Even some coalition partners have got in on the act with some Lib Dems expressing concern over the departure from the coalition agreement that these changes represent.
Just to recap, the Coalition Agreement said that the state pension age (SPA) would rise to 66 but this would “not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.” Since then the Government performed a dramatic U-turn and published draft legislation to accelerate the equalisation for women by 2018, and then increase both men and women’s state pension ages to 66 by 2020. Women aged around 56 and 57 are set to lose the most from this shift in the goalposts, with very little time to prepare or amend existing plans.
Some 2.6 million women will be affected overall by the Government’s proposals. The State Pension Age for women born between 6th December 1953 and 5th October 1954 will increase by more than 18 months. The Government’s own impact assessment estimates that this will affect around 330,000 women. In the most extreme case, 33,000 women born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 would have an increase of two years. So, to put that in context, if you’re a woman and you were born in April 1953 you’ll be able to get your pension at 62 years 11 months. If you’re born just a year later in April 1954, you’ll have to wait until you’re 66 before you can draw your pension. It doesn’t seem fair does it?
Many women of this generation are already at a disadvantage when it comes to pensions, having been denied access to private pension schemes (part-time workers were only allowed to join pension schemes relatively recently) and having taken breaks in their careers to bring up children.
As Brendan Barber said today;
“Women in the affected age group – those born between December 1953 and October 1954 – could lose up to several thousand pounds and will have to work for much longer than any of them had intended. Many quite understandably will have been planning their retirement. Now those plans will have to be put on hold. Ministers need to put a halt to this mean-spirited move to bring in the change at breakneck speed.”
Today Age UK are lobbying MPs to amend the Pensions Bill. Age UK have said:
“This Pensions Bill seeks to cut short the retirements of almost five million people by speeding up the planned rise in women’s state pension age to 65 and bringing forward the increase to 66, six years earlier than planned by the previous government. Women will be hard hit by this change of policy, seeing their state pension age rise by six years between 2010 and 2020 compared to just one year for men.”