State Pension Age changes will penalise women

The House of Lords is sometimes seen as old-fashioned and anachronistic, but last week it debated an issue affecting nearly five million people. The Pensions Bill, which has just received its Second Reading in the Lords, does two things relating to the State Pension Age. Firstly, it speeds up the equalisation between men’s and women’s state pension ages at 65. Secondly, it brings forward the date when the State Pension Age would start to rise from 65 to 66, from 2024 under current legislation, to 2018.

Photo: Rogue Soul via Creative Commons

We understand that there’s a need to increase the State Pension Age as people live longer on average. But these proposals will force millions to delay their retirement and also give them barely any time to make the necessary financial provisions. 330,000 women will see their State Pension Age rise by 18 months, and the 30,000 unlucky enough to be born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 will have to wait a full two years extra before receiving their state pensions – with less than ten years’ notice.

Many of the women affected by these changes will have spent most of their working lives expecting to receive their state pensions at 60 and will have planned accordingly. They have already seen their state pension age rise once, but with the countdown to retirement already underway, they face the prospect of further delays. Most people would agree that the state pension age should be the same for men and women, but the speed of adjustment under the new proposals is just too quick. The Government should also recognise that women face greater barriers in building up both state and private pensions, for reasons such as time spent caring and lower earnings during their working lives.

The average weekly state pension paid to women is around £93 a week compared to £124 a week for men.

At present, around seven in ten women aged 55-59 and four in ten women between 60 and 64 are working. The majority of women in their fifties who aren’t in employment at the moment are sick, disabled or unable to find work. These women particularly will find the Government’s plans a huge shock – many will find themselves facing years more with no job prospects, no pension and an increasing reliance on meagre state benefits.

By pushing ahead with these plans, the government is breaking the promise it made in the coalition agreement not to start increasing the state pension age to 66 for women before 2020. We don’t believe that rushing through these changes is the best way to take account of increased life expectancy. People ought to be able to plan properly for retirement.  Any changes to the state pension age must be part of a more coherent government strategy to narrow health inequalities, provide better support for older workers, and end pensioner poverty once and for all.

You can get involved with Age UK’s State Pension Age campaign via our website.

25 thoughts on “State Pension Age changes will penalise women”

  1. In the Republic of Ireland there’s a political pressure group doing lots of work around securing pensions, as well as standing up for older people’s rights more generally. There’s a blog post about it here:

    I wonder if Age UK could do something similar next election, as it seems to be pretty good tactic! Maybe they did and I’ve forgotten?! Recession talk seems to be focussed on the young here rather than the old, though that’s the media’s fault not Age UK’s.

  2. Sorry, but I feel that traditionally in the area of state pensions, women have had the best of it for some time now.
    I worked all my life, paid all my taxes and NI contributions, yet when I reached 60 while female friends started receiving a state pension immediately I had to wait another 5 yrs to receive mine. Was this equality or prejudice against men?
    Why was it ok for the government to be sexist in the realm of state pensions??
    I’m absolutely totally in favour of equality, but it should be across the board with no reserved areas.
    In a society of equals, quite simply men and women should receive the state pension at the same age!

  3. I am 62 and my wife is 5 years younger than me. As it stood we would have both collected our state pension in the same year. Being low paid and without any personal pension, my wife will have to work 7 years after I retire at 65. I believe that the UK already has the oldest retirement age in Europe. Women are being penalised for their year of birth. This is not equality!

  4. This proposal is very unfair on the women like my sister born in 1954 who have already had an age hike of 4 years. Many of them started work at 15 and by 66 will have paid in 51 years of contributions. There was no equality of wages with men and no private pension schemes for women then and most of them being single or widowed now will have to work until they can claim state pension to live on.
    Many have age related complaints and less stamina than younger people. So what is the sense in forcing them to work longer when they are so many young people not working, some who have never worked. Surely it would make more sense to free up their jobs and give young people a chance. We know the state pension age of men and women has to equalise but the last government planned it slowly and fairly.
    My own sister feels discriminated against and I think that she is !

  5. Yes it’s fair that men and women should retire at the same age and that will happen in the not too far distant future, but what I and the other women of my age are protesting about is that some of us are being hit twice with the same stick. The previous government planned the increase so that it happened gradually and fairly and we accepted 4 years added to our retirement ages and planned accordingly. But the coalition has broken their promise not to start increasing the age before 2020 and they’ve decided to add another 2 years to the 4, so although our slightly older sisters retired at 60 women like me born in 53/54 are expected to work to 66. Steve Webb pensions minister has said we can fall back on jobseekers allowance if we’re not fit enough to work until our late sixties , ah yes very nice considering it’s less than half of what we would have received in state pension, and why should women who have worked all their lives and paid their contributions in good faith for their pensions be reduced to scrimping along on jobseekers allowance (while being hounded to seek a job) I have never drawn unemployment or sickness benefit, I’ve worked since I was 15 for my pension and I feel robbed by this government that says one thing to win votes while intending to do another when in power. How can you trust them one little inch to do anything for us when they have set out to take money from old people, children, the sick and the vulnerable.
    Bill, we didn’t make the pension rules that allowed women to retire at 60 while men worked to 65, but there are 500,000 of us women paying the penalty for all the millions of women who did retire at 60, is that fair in your opinion?

  6. Yes Bill I agree that the pension has been unfair for many years, but its not womens fault that the ages were set at 60/65. No one is arguing that the ages should not be equalised but it is the way in which the government is going about it that is causing problems. For women born in 1954 the goalpost have been moved for a second time. I am single and work long hours in a manual job. Due to my circumstances full retirement is out of the question but I was planning on reducing my hours. Now I face the impossible task of having to save at least £12000 just to be able to go part time at the age of 64. I have never had the opportunity to join a company scheme or provide a private pension for myself. Saving is out of the question. Perhaps people think that its ok I will just have to carry on working until 66. but I know that I will not be able to continue working these hours in this type of job into my late 60s. If I lose my job what then? The way in which the ages are rising at the moment is fair. All we are asking is that the Government keeps its word and doesn’t punish women born in 1954.

  7. I’ve noticed some men have posted unsympathetic post’s on this and similar site’s to a situation which is blatantly unfair to women. I think some men are missing the point!!!!!!
    If they are young, maybe they’d like to know BOTH sexes will have their state pension age rise from 66 to 67 between 2034-2036. Then rise from 67 to 68 between 2044-2046. YOU are being given plenty of notice about these future changes. How would YOU feel if this was extended by a further 2 year’s shortly before YOU were due to retire? This is what has happened to thousand’s of women. We didn’t complain back in 1995 when the government announced the equalisation of the state pension age, as the government gave us plenty of warning about the FUTURE changes, in the same way YOU have been notified about YOUR future changes. For women born between 1950 and 1955 the pension age change, from 60 to 65 was to be phased in. For some women born in 1954, this meant they’d retire at 64. No one complained about having to work the extra years, as retirement was still a long way off, and we had received plenty of notice! To find out now, the goal posts have been moved and a further 2 years have been added is a disgrace. You men who all moan, oh well women live longer blah blah, well it’s probably because after retiring women continue running round after men, grandchildren and their aged parents and aged in-laws. Furthermore women may have gained in the past retiring at 60, but were disadvantaged in many other ways. We didn’t receive equal pay for many years, we took time out of careers to have children, and were unable to join pension schemes if we worked part-time. Please have SOME sympathy for women after all, it’s the men who run this country, the greedy bankers and the labour government who went mad with this country’s credit card and got us into this mess!!!!!

  8. Swings and roundabouts.Equal votes equal pension age… the women who are complaining.The sufragettes would be turning in their graves

  9. Yes Stephhe they certainly will be turning in their graves at the inequality and unfairness of the government picking out a small group of women by their dates of birth and expecting them to pay not once but twice for the inadequacy of the pension system. A system that has been in place since long before we were born and which women have benefitted by for generations, this is not to do with equal votes and equal pensions but rather to do with discriminating against women born in 53/54. I was at the Houses of Parliament last week protesting against this gross unfairness and I consider myself a sister to the sufragettes who fought for fairness for women, I saw the statue of Viscount Falkland to which a sufragette chained herself over 100 years ago and felt nothing but kinship with those brave women. Study the facts and figures not the headlines, clear your mind of “equality with men” this is an entirely seperate and important issue.

  10. Stephe, in that case the women affected shoud have back pay to when they started work at 15 years old and received a fraction of the amount of wages men the same age received. And as they had no chance to save for a private pension, like men did, they should have that provided for them too.
    You would complain if you had to have 2 years added on top of the 4 already added and to be threatened with paying in 51 years of contributions before being allowed your rightful state pension and a bif of freedom you’d been promised.
    I don’t know how old you are but women of this generation affected went out to work and then home to housework,child care and cooking, not many men did any of that ! They also cared/care for elderly relatives , not putting them in a Home as later generations do nowadays.
    Yes there is equality now but there wasn’t then !

  11. It is all very well saying that people are living longer. But I have to ask is their health up to working for longer this goes for both sexes. With the increase in dementia related illness being found in younger people and its increase we have to ask this question. Also the persons job could have an effect. Is it safe for a man in his late 60’s climbing up onto the roof of a house? I have a long time yet until I retire I am only 33 and work as an RGN. Already I am feeling the affects on my body of the job stiff sore back etc and have had physiotherapy for this. Will I be able to work until I am nearly 70? I really cant see myself working into my late 60’s in this job so I will most likely have to have a change in work. But who is going to employ someone in their late 50’s – early 60’s? We are told to save more for the future. As a young person with a family this is next to impossible, with all the increase in food and fuel I have to laugh at the suggestion. I have concluded that what this government is aiming for is for older people to retire on the Friday and to be buried by the Monday. ” Oh well we cant afford to keep you all so why dont you do us a favour and just die”. If the governement is honest that is what they want us to all do.

  12. Ladies please … all these long-winded reasons you are giving for not being able to retire at 60. And please Bill P where are you coming from … where is your support for the traditional white British male underdog.

    The ladies have had it too good for far to long. I propose that overnight all men should be able to retire at 60 and women changed to 65.

    1. Please Phillipa, long gone are the days when we had a job for life. At 20 I was the manager of a jewellery store, at 25 I bought my first shop, at 27 I had my second store and at 31 my third plus a property investment and development company. In 1987, because the financial state of the country was in a bigger mess than now, my businesses went to the wall. My wife left me for an insurance salesman because he was able to earn more than me. She managed to gain most of the assets from the sale of our home and contents and went off into the setting son with my 5 year old son who I haven’t seen for many years. Being of the same age as me she has already been retired for 2/3 years.

      I had to find an alternative career. I was fortunate enough to gain entry to a computing degree course as a mature student. I obtained a BSc and went on to gain an MSc in Software Engineering. I’ve enjoyed the last few years 38 to Computing and Information Technology (C&IT). However, I now need to find another career to take to through until I reach the traditional age for male retirement of 65. As you mentioned in your comment, “what will happen to you in your 50/60s?”. If you are 60 you won’t have to do anything, whereas I have to find another job which is proving very difficult because there are so many very competent young people coming into C&IT who have more up-to-date qualifications than I do.

      When I went to the job centre for advice I was told to phone a particular number and speak to an advisor. The advisor asked my age and mentioned that anyone over 60 should apply for Pension Credit. I completed all the forms and sent them off. I had three interviews at my home … I felt that the other question I could have been asked is, “What is the colour of your under ware?”.Eventually after 6 months I was turned down. What happens now … I have to find work. What happens to a women in a similar situation? She doesn’t have to go through the same degrading process, she can automatically retire.


  13. Dear Benjamin,

    I am very sorry to hear that you have had it so tough over the years and that your wife ran off. But if you are honest I think you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder. I am sure if you ask some of the ladies who have commented on this subject they to have had a difficult time raising familes ect and sometimes as lone parents with very little income coming in. Childcare in their generation was not as easily available back then and flexable working was not available. I think you have missed my point altogether in my post. I pointed out that I think it is unfair for both men and women to be made to work until they are 66 yrs old. If you have been a builder all your life or a nurse it is going to be very difficult to obtain work else where in a different field because of their age. In my own line of work I have seen how older people are treated in society and it is just not on. You mentioned about how you feel that you will have to find another job because of all these younger people coming out of uni with more up to date qualifications. It is your responsibility to keep yourself up to date so that you are on a level playing field with the graduates. YOU mentioned about that when I am 60 I will not have to do anything this is simple not true. If you look at the governements plans on retiremnet it looks like that my generation will be in their 70’s before they can retire. Now is that fair? Afterall was it my generation that got this country into a mess? How would you feel if you where told that you have to work into your 70’s? We also have to ask where is this going to leave the new generation coming up if the older generation is still working? Will there be enough jobs to go round and will there be the same opportunites available for the younger genereation to get up the ladder and to do well?
    I think the governements plans are crazy this is going to cost the country more in the longterm. Younger people are not going to be able to find work and older people will be signed off on long term sick. This means that there will be an increase in spending on benefits ie income support and disability allowance. It is a sad fact that there will most likely be an increase in crime as well as history has shown that unemployment causes an increase in crime amoung young people. Drug abuse will also be on the increase as well as poverty will be on the rise.
    I really dont think your little rant has done yourself any favours at all. I think you need to get a reality check. Its just as well I know that you do refelct the average man in this day and age. I wish you well and hope that your have a long and happy retirement. And maybe meet a nice lady if you do not already have one who will make you happy and change your view on women.

  14. What most men and younger people fail to understand is that at 60 years it was only a woman’s paid work that came to an end. 60 is a convenient age to start minding grandchildren/great grandchildren while mum and dad work saving the government a fortune on subsidised childcare – we do it for free (an occasional thank you take away don’t count) – also at that age many of us still have parents and in-laws in their 80,s again we tend to their needs for free saving the government fortunates in care costs therefore i would say we are invaluable to the government as economical assets – because now we are being forced to be unavailable i am sure their costs will escalate compared with a lousy £102 ish a week that would have been our pension – so men when we retire we continue to work for free unlike many of you lot who wander around golf courses etc all day while awaiting the grim reaper – I wonder how many retired men change nappies or wipe an 80 plus shitty arse – not many me thinks

  15. Is it a fallacy that we are living longer? Is this another Government con trick? Why not take a stroll around your local cemetery and see how may people are dying at a younger age. How many of us born in 1954 will actually reach the new retirement age? Sounds a bit bleak, I know, but whereas many of our parents’ generation have lived longer, I cannot see it will be the same for ours. What is the point of making us 50 somethings work until we drop when we are blocking all the employment opportunities for the young people who cannot find a job? Why should we work all our lives to pay for the benefits of those who have never worked and never intend to work? Moving the goal posts, so to speak, with no time left to make an alternative provision, smacks of discrimination. Having said that, why should we further line the pockets of the insurance companies that have conned us by miss selling? ….etc…

  16. Couldn’t agree more Patricia, I don’t believe we’re all living longer, maybe some of us are – but a heck of a lot of us are not. It seems to simple to me (and to you too obviously) that getting younger people into work makes sense, and allowing older people who have worked all their adult lives to retire at a reasonable age and enjoy a bit of freedon is surely only humane! Unfortunately this government sees us as a herd of cattle, to be used until we haven’t a drop of goodness left in us. It’s a wonder they don’t bring in compulsory euthanasia at 66!

  17. Date of Birth 01/03/1954 – already been advised years ago that the state pension age for women was rising to 65 and that instead of the expected pension at 60 years old it would be paid at 63years and several months to ease the change through. Today I am 58 years old worked all my life and still working and another letter landed on my mat this morning from Dept of Works and Pensions stating the retirement age will rise to 66 years and my earliest date for receiving state pension ‘ could be 06/07/2019 and is unlikely to fall on my birthday’. Retirement age now 65 and 4 months, just a bit uncertain about the ‘could be’ in the sentence. As 2019 is now 7 years away and all my working life I expected to retire at 60 – I feel the government need a lesson in managing expectations. I agree with equality between men and womens retirement age – but not all at my expense it should be graduated in slower. I can no longer nor want to continue working and caring for my grandchildren whose parents all work, cooking cleaning etc. A womens life is definately different to a mans. On my epitaph it will say one word “knackered”.

  18. Statistics show that unemployed over 60’s have next to no chance of finding work again, but now both unemployed women AND men over 60 have to claim JSA (Men were previously able to switch to pension credit at age 60). The next few years are going to see Job Centres overstretched as more and more people over age 60 walk through the doors, and all expected to survive on £71 per week chasing jobs younger people COULD and SHOULD be doing. JSA should at the very least be raised to £100 for all those unemployed over 60! If this country cannot afford THAT then it’s time for some very serious questions to be answered as to why that is. Frankly, it raises the question of whether Britain is a civilised country!

  19. The fact that we are living longer is inconsequential (if it is true!) – all the more reason that we should retire at the age we had planned for and contributed to all of our working lives. Retire to enjoy life! The statements above (excluding the sarcastic ones) demonstrate how unfair these changes are. Not only unfair, but discriminatory. Civil Servants, within 10 years of their Normal Pension Age on 1 April 2012 were, quite rightly, not affected by the changes. This was to ” Provide transitional protection for those closest to retirement”. How on earth has this government got away with these illegal changes. More to the point why aren’t Age UK challenging them on this? The Socialist Government in France have repealed the previous Conservatives government policy by reducing the retirement age to 60 for those who have worked for 41 years. If they can do it why can’t we? So I ask Age UK yet again – do you condone discrimination? If not what are you going to do to support us?

  20. About time the government practice what they say about fairness and why don,t people wake up to the fact this pension movement is wrong and not necessary people are more interested in X factor, the newspapers and TV are all part of the deception and the public just accept everything parts of this country will fall into drugs – prostitution affecting some people and the rich will again become more properous and believe we the ordinary people are just lazy uneducated and chaff, without us who does the digging, cooking, and builds the fabric of this country, us, and now they are coming for our state pension its not austerity its theft, we paid for our pensions so we need to make someone fight for fairness and reverse these changes. .

  21. I am another person who has been hit by this inequality about the pension age rise for women. I will be 60 in September but under the new Government legislation I will have to wait another 6 years before I receive my state pension this will mean I will have worked for 48 years continuously until I receive my state pension. I left school at 17 and have worked continuously since I left school this will mean that on my 60th birthday this year I will have paid 42 years of contributions. In my previous employment I worked with a lady that was 5 years older than me being born in 1950 and she was therefore already receiving her state pension. However unlike myself she had not worked continuously as she had two children and had a break from work she is therefore receiving a state pension now but has paid less contributions and worked less years than myself.
    Surely there should be a system based on what you have put in and how many years that you have worked, not just the age factor. I like what the person says about the government in France that once a person has worked 41 years they start receiving a pension. I have school friends who do not work yet I suppose when the time comes they will get the same as me, where is the fairness in that. I have always thought that things should be based on what a person puts into the country. I would not complain if someone was getting a state pension before me because they has worked longer or paid more in contributions, but why should someone be receiving a benefit when they have actually put in less than myself and I have t wait another 6 years and keep paying more into the country.

  22. I was 60 this yr in Feb. Due to saving my Aunt’s life & thereafter health issues, unemployed, no children, no benefits. The Government adding 6 yrs on my state pension age. They have taken from my Husband of 63 this yr & myself a retirement. We have worked hard all our lives & this is how we are rewarded. I live amongst people taking their well earned pensions from 60yrs, who afford a good lifestyle with free transport, heating allowance etc with several cruises a year. For me at 60 it is rely on my husband’s salary, pay for all ie: public transport with no benefit allowances due to ‘Government adding 6years’ onto my pensionable age. Yet they can afford sending money Overseas. They save pds.46,000 per head by deferring each persons pension from 60yrs to 66!

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