Increases in the state pension age announced by the government will leave millions of women born in the 1950s worse off by up to £12,000 and the Work and Pensions Secretary now says he cannot see a “do-able policy solution” to cushion the blow.
The Pensions Act 1995 provided for the equalisation of state pension ages for men and women by 2020. Previously, state pension ages for men and women had been set at 65 and 60 respectively for a number of years, leading many people to plan accordingly.
The change has inevitably had a disproportionate effect on women, increasing their state pension age at a much faster rate than for men.
While the government says everyone was informed of the changes well in advance, many women say they didn’t receive information.
Ros Altmann, the Pensions Minister, has said she is trying to help women affected by the changes, but many say they have been left without enough money to live on.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee recently recommended a compromise to mitigate the impact on those affected by the plans. However, the Work and Pensions Secretary said the women he’d spoken to had said they did not agree with the plans.
The campaign group, Women Against State Pensions Inequality (WASPI) has said that there is a lack of awareness amongst many women born between April 1951 and 1960 that their state pension age is increasing by as much as six years.
One of WASPI’s founders said she was “disappointed but still hopeful”, going on to say that the cross-party parliamentary group on the matter is still in contact with the Secretary of State and continues to look for a compromise.