State pension reforms criticised as unfair to women

Saturday, 18 June 2011 11:58

Backbench MP’s across all parties are urging the government to reconsider the rate of change over plans to increase the state pension age for women.

The state pension age for women will increase to 65 from 60 by 2018, two years earlier than originally planned, and by a further year, to 66, by 2020. This is so that the state pension retirement age can be raised to 66 for both men and women by 2020.

The plans are being criticised as they are perceived to be particularly unfair to women in their fifties who will have to work for two or more years longer than they originally planned.

The previous Labour government had aimed for both sexes to achieve equality of retirement age of 65 by 2020, but the coalition plans to accelerate this so that it is achieved by November 2018, and then increase the retirement age for both sexes by a further year to 66, by 2020.

Dr. Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga said: ‘'Yes, pension age must rise, but not in this unfair, rushed way. The arguments that we need to ensure long-term sustainability of our pension system and that pension ages need to rise are both correct, but to make just one cohort of women bear all the brunt of this in the very short-term will undermine the concept of planning for retirement over the long-term and cause real distress to the responsible women who have made careful financial retirement plans.”

The Pensions Bill goes before parliament for its second reading on Monday and the government expects it to be passed without any major changes.

However, Conservative MP, James Gray, believes that the criticism of the pension reforms that will see a small proportion of women bearing the brunt of the cost due to the speed of the changes is a cause for concern.

He said: “Going around the corridors and tea rooms in Westminster talking to Tories, Lib Dems and of course Labour MPs they are saying this is an injustice being done to a small number of people."

It has been calculated that the worst affected women, those born between 1953 and 1954 could lose around £10,000 a year.

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