From the TUC

Campaign launched on women’s state pension age U-turn

08 Feb 2011, by in Equality

A little noticed U-turn by the Coalition Government will mean that 4.9 million people will have to wait longer to get their pension – with 500,000 women aged 56-57 having to work more than an extra year, and 33,000 working for exactly two years longer.

Last May the Coalition Agreement assured people that it would:

“hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age start to rise to 66, although it would not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.”

But a few weeks ago you could hear the tyres screech and smell burning tar when the government published new plans to accelerate the increase in the state pension age to 2018 for women, and then increase both men and women’s state pension ages to 66 by 2020. This is particularly bad news for women aged 56 or 57, giving them very little time to prepare or amend existing plans.

Bald statistics such as these often have very little impact on the public, which is why the TUC welcomes today’s campaign launch featuring Barbara’s story. Spearheaded by Labour’s Pensions’ Spokesperson Rachel Reeves MP, the campaign features an online petition which describes exactly who will lose out from this broken promise.

Almost 5 million people will be affected by the government’s new plans; in particular 500,000 women will now have to work for a year or longer, 33,000 will have to work for two years longer before they can claim their state pension.

Read Barbara’s story here and if you want to support her, sign the petition. The TUC Women’s Conference next month will be debating these unacceptable changes to our pensions.

18 Responses to Campaign launched on women’s state pension age U-turn

  1. Gordon Alleva
    Feb 9th 2011, 1:38 am

    For those into ballkicking and especially stories about said topics, without question the best by a mile in the genre is James Pendergrass ( I’d also love to know if u like any similar authors!

  2. Tweets that mention Campaign launched on women’s state pension age U-turn | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC —
    Feb 9th 2011, 3:21 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by andy and London Hazards , False Economy. False Economy said: RT @touchstoneblog Campaign launched on women’s state pension age U-turn […]

  3. Joy Waters
    Feb 11th 2011, 10:10 pm

    Middle aged women have always felt invisible but never more so than on this issue. I feel that this has slipped completely under the public’s radar. I do not disagree with the principle of equalisation of pensions at all but the speed with which this has been introduced for women is outrageous. The government originally planned to start the increase for men from 2016 by one year but considered it too soon to give them time to prepare. However, they have no problem increasing it for women by up to two years!

    The government is overlooking the realities of women of my generation. Some of us didn’t even have equal pay when we started work. Like many women at the time, I left work when my children were born and returned to the workforce part time at a later date. I wasn’t even allowed to join the pension scheme for many years simply because I was part time. I now work part time and have caring responsibilities for both grandchildren and elderly parents. Consequently, I have very little in the way of private pension provision. I cannot simply change my plans at this late stage. It was a shock to discover in the late 90s that I wouldn’t retire at 60 like my friends only four years older than myself and now suddenly it is 66 instead of 64. Women of my age who are aware of this are simply devastated and also furious.

    At a stroke, the women worst affected have lost over £10,000. The government have made much of the fact that their changes are fair and how the poorest in society will not be affected. This change affects all women. It is also completely discriminatory. Men have been given eight years to prepare for an increase of one year. Women have been given seven years to prepare for an increase of two years. There is now a three year difference in pension ages for women born only one year apart. It is an anomaly which owes more to mathematical convenience than fairness.

    The government have shown no inclination to make changes to any of their policies but we must continue fighting this while we can.

  4. Ruth
    Feb 14th 2011, 12:31 pm

    This a a very unfair proposal, especially on the women born in 1954. I am 63 and retired at 60, my sister is almost 57 and if this passes will have been targeted twice and will have to work to 66, which will be 51 years of contributions paid in. She is not in good health but had accepted she would have to work to 64. Another 2 years is asking far too much of her and women like her , especially when so many young people are unemployed. It would make more sense to free up jobs for them instead of forcing older women to keep working as they will have no other means to live on but their state pension.Equal wages with men and private pension were not around in the days women started working at 15.
    Thank goodness for Rachel Reeves MP and the Unions fighting on behalf of the women affected, I hope they succeed in stopping this proposal.

  5. Rose
    Feb 14th 2011, 12:56 pm

    Women who are unfortunate enough to be working in their middle / late 50s because they’re single or widows who missed out in widows pension are the ones being unfairly targeted because they can’t retire without state pension to live on. A very easy target for the government who would rather work them until they drop than let them have a bit of life after work. The slower age rise proposed by the previous government was fair but this one certainly isn’t.
    Being born in 1954 was not our fault and we shouldn’t be targeted this way.

  6. Linda
    Feb 14th 2011, 1:34 pm

    This Proposal is unfair. Everyone accepted the increase in retirement age. I was born in 1954 and have known for a long time that I would draw my Pension at the age of 64. Now suddenly I am told it will be 66. Nigel Adams MP acknowledged that women on my age will be badly affected but we were in the minority. So I assume he and the Government think that we don’t matter.

  7. Barbara
    Feb 14th 2011, 4:03 pm

    I was very glad to tell my story and to help Rachel Reeves MP and Unions Together to start up the petition in protest at this unfair and cruel proposal by the government. I believe I’m typical of women of my generation, I started work at 15 and have worked and paid contributions pretty much ever since, 41 years already, but it’s still not enough! The government wants to add on yet another 2 years expecting us to work to the age of 66 while still paying in yet more contributions and at the same time accepting the loss of 2 years pension and 2 years freedom. In other words they want to rob me of around £10,000 and expect me to keep on paying in even more each month while I’m being robbed! Please sign the petition and tell David Cameron that enough is enough!

  8. Frances Day
    Feb 19th 2011, 6:46 pm

    The proposal is totally unfair. When I started work the retirement age was 60. Bad enough for it to increase to 64. Why should I have to wait 5 or 6 more years than people retiring now, when I have 38 years of full contributions. This is the equivalent of robbing me of some £12,000. There are plenty of other ways for the government to raise money which would not be unfair to a small section of society – which won’t raise much money for the government anyway!

  9. Lorraine Whittle
    Feb 21st 2011, 11:12 am

    Born in 1955 – same feelings as my co-authors. Also feel for my husband aged 5 years older. Planned to retire together -me at 60 he at 65. He was made redundant at age 60, very small occ pension due to firm going bust. Lived on my earnings when JSA ran out and little savings. Luckily my job was OK but due to NHS cuts now very unsure also. We can see a very unsure future rolling out before us even though we have worked hard all our lives and looked after our family around my job – a privilige but reduced hours nonetheless, therefore less pension. How much more is going to be taken away outside our control. Even if you want to work to 66, after over 200 applications, you can’t make employers give you a job.

  10. carmen seide
    Feb 21st 2011, 8:12 pm

    Born in April 1954 and planned tor retire before my retirement age of 64. I already lost my part time job in Education due to the increased student fees. Where are the job vacancies for us?
    These proposals are totaly unfair and discriminate women in this country. My retirement age was already increased once from 60 to 64 and now with the new government proposals another 2 years.
    Letters to the Minister of Pension, Steve Webb, were not answered. Women have no lobby in this country and we must keep compaigning together with influential members of the society.

  11. Penny
    Feb 23rd 2011, 6:56 pm

    Joy Waters’ comments echo mine entirely. I was born in 1954 and having already adjusted to the idea of receiving my state pension at the age of 64, I now discover I have to wait a further 18 months before payment is due. Like many women of my generation I worked for several years before devoting 10 years to raising a family. I returned to work in 1990 and have remained in employment since then. I belong to a generation of women who did not benefit from the generous maternity rights afforded to younger women today, who wish to raise a family and continue with a career.

    I agree that the issue of raising the pension age has to be addressed, but the speed with which this is happening for women born in 1954 is hugely unjustified and in my view will have a long term detrimental effect on family lives. Many couples in their 50s and 60s are facing a time when, along with hoping to enjoy retirement together, they have to juggle responsibilities of caring both for grandchildren and parents. Denied this because of the enforced lengthening of their working lives has a damaging effect on the support network within families, a fact which appears to be totally unrecognised by a government who claim to have the interests of families at heart. One historical factor in men and women having received their pensions at 65 and 60 respectively also appears to have been ignored – on average, statistics show that women marry men older than themselves, thus giving couples a reasonable expectation that they could enjoy most of their retirement together. My husband is 11 years older than me and has already enjoyed 3 years of retirement. With the prospect of my having to work for a further ten years, there now looks to be a thirteen year gap between our retirement ages. How much time we shall have to enjoy our retirement together remains to be seen.
    We are told that our life expectancy is longer than previous generations, hence the need for raising the pension age. But can the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions explain the remarkable anomalies in the calculations and reasoning behind the new proposals. It implies I may expect to live 6 years longer than a colleague currently 60 but only 1 year less than a colleague who is now 40.
    Those women currently aged 60 and over are enjoying much of the benefits of recent pension legislation and those in their 40s and younger have time to prepare for the new changes ahead – but those of us currently in our mid to late 50s appear to belong to a ‘forgotten generation’, having to take the full burden of necessary but unfairly rushed changes for the future.

    I give full backing to Rachel Reeves MP in her Hands Off Our Pensions campaign to fight the current government’s proposals and have signed Barbara Bates’ petition in support of this.

  12. Mary
    Feb 23rd 2011, 7:53 pm

    Hi,I am really upset with the new proposals. I have worked since I left school at 15yrs of age and have not been out of work since. I have already been stung by the previous government when they increased my retiral date to 63yrs and 11 months which was bad enough, but if these new proposals are passed and I have to work until I am 66yrs that means that I will have worked for 51yrs. Surely there should be some protection for women who have worked all these years! David Cameron needs to keep his grubbie hands off our pensions as we have earned the right to retire at 64yrs.

  13. helen mcgregor
    Feb 26th 2011, 4:30 pm

    Why are there such discrepancies in retiring age from month to month,this government think they can treat woman of our age very badly and get away with it but we must all complain until this is put right and we get decent treatment.

  14. Petra
    Feb 26th 2011, 4:55 pm

    I agree, we should make so much fuss about this injustice that we cannot be ignored. We are right to protest, who in their right minds would sit back and allow themselves to be robbed of money they have worked and saved for for nigh on half a century. Look at this table that sets out the new retirement ages they have set for us
    it is ridiculous and makes no sense at all.

  15. Andy
    Mar 9th 2011, 10:04 pm

    Yes it is ridiculous and makes no attempt at compensation for years of pension planning to suddenly have your state pension that you have paid for delayed by 2 years. My wife falls into the worst category of the 2 year hike. This means she will need to work an extra year to me – how does this fit with the new Equality Act and age discrimination. someone should challenge the Government as breaking their own law.

  16. christine Bullock
    Mar 24th 2011, 9:08 am

    I have read all the comments and agree very strongly that women are being treated unfairly – I was born in 1953 and am therefore one of the group that has to wait another two and half years – I was made redundant two years ago so actually do not have the opportunity to carry on working – over 4 and half years I will lose about £29,000 – I feel badly treated and I beleive that the government have been incidious in implementing this bill. I have written to my MP and he was sympathetic but told me to shut up, be quiet and stop shouting!!!!

  17. Ruth
    Mar 24th 2011, 12:30 pm

    Protest from your armchair if you can’t march

  18. Amanda Warr
    Mar 26th 2011, 4:59 pm

    I too feel very cheated by the proposals to change retirement age for this group of women. When iI started working at 15, I was told I could retire at 60…this was changed to 62…then it went to 64 and now suddenly I cannot receive a state pension until I am 66. What an insult after working for most of your life ( six months off to have daughter) and never claiming any type of benifit. I feel that this is a violation of our human rights to keep moving the goal posts in this way. I have also returned to work following major health problems but dont at present qualify for DLA. By constantly changing the retirement age this means that I cannot plan my retirement. What we need is a strong individual who will take our plight to the Court of Human Rights and get this sorted once and for all.