State pension update: women's state pension age to be debated

Chris Torney / 07 January 2016 ( 05 April 2016 )

Pressure is mounting on the Government to offer concessions to hundreds of thousands of women who are being forced to wait longer than expected for their state pensions.

Please note: This debate has now taken place. Click here to read a report on the outcomes.

A campaign group called WASPI – which stands for Women Against State Pension Inequality – has been fighting over recent months to highlight the plight of women born in the 1950s. This applies specifically to those born on or after 6 April 1951.

What is the problem?

This group has now faced two increases in their state pension age. In 1995, the government announced that women’s state pension age would rise from 60 to 65, in line with men’s, between 2010 and 2020.

But in 2011, the coalition decided that both men’s and women’s pension age should increase to 66 by 2020 – which meant an even longer delay before many women would be eligible for their pensions.

Will you have to wait longer for your state pension?

Members of WASPI say that certain women will have to wait almost three years longer to get their pension than someone just a year older.

To make matters worse, WASPI says, many of the women affected had been unaware of both the 1995 and the 2011 legislation, and only found out about their later retirement age after being contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions shortly before their 60th birthdays.

WASPI says the government should have given individuals much earlier notice.

State pension changes cause confusion and misery. 

A successful petition

In October, WASPI started a petition on the Government’s website calling for “fair transitional state pension arrangements” for those affected. 

The petition notes that many women have had “no time to make alternative plans” and that retirement plans have been “shattered with devastating consequences”.

The petition has now attracted more than 106,000 signatures, which would normally be sufficient to trigger a parliamentary debate on the matter.

But as a result of WASPI’s campaigning work in 2015, such a debate had already been scheduled in the House of Commons for 7 January.

Seven signs that you need to get on top of your finances.

What happens next?

In response to the petition, ministers have said that the Government has directly contacted all the women affected and that there were “no plans to alter state pension age arrangements for this group”.

The 7 January debate will place no obligation on the government to take action and analysts say that any delay in the rise in women’s state pension age could cost the state billions of pounds.

However, it is clear that the campaign has struck a chord not just with the women who will have to wait longer for their pensions, but with the wider public as well.

How to review your pensions.

For more useful information, browse our money articles.

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