The House of Lords has been in the news more than usual recently, as the marathon sittings on the Parliamentary Voting and Constituencies Bill attracted coverage and debate. The ritual and procedures of the House of Lords can sometimes look archaic and out-of-touch, but one bill currently in the queue for debate will have very real consequences for many women in the UK.
The Pensions Bill received its first reading a few weeks ago. One of its key proposals is about speeding up the rise in the women’s State Pension Age. Women’s pension age is already rising under current legislation – it is due to equalise with men at 65 and then increase to 66, along with men, between 2024 and 2026. The Directgov State Pension Age calculator can tell you when you’ll reach State Pension Age under the current system.
However, this new Bill proposes that men’s and women’s State Pension Age will now be equalised at 65 in November 2018 and that the pension age for both men and women will then increase to 66 by April 2020.
What does this mean in practice? Around 330,000 women born between December 1953 and October 1954 will see their State Pension Age increased by eighteen months or longer. Those worst affected are the 30,000 or so women born between 6 March and 5 April, who will see their State Pension Age increase by a full two years. These women will be eligible to receive their State Pensions in March 2020 – meaning that a two-year increase will be introduced with less than nine years’ notice if the Bill passes unamended later this year. This makes it more difficult for women to plan for their retirements, particularly as the women affected have already seen their pension age increase from 60 under previous legislation.
At Age UK, we think that there shouldn’t be any increase in the State Pension Age beyond 65 before 2020. We believe it is wrong for the Coalition to cut short the retirements of millions of hardworking people by speeding up equalisation and bringing forward the increase in State Pension Age six years earlier than planned by the previous Government. Fast-tracking the State Pension Age rise will hit the poorest the hardest by shortening the retirements of those living in areas where life expectancy is low. By moving the date forward, the Government has denied the people affected time to plan properly for a delayed retirement.
Are you likely to be affected by the changes in the Pensions Bill? Tell us what you think below.