Women in their mid-Fifties unfairly affected by decision not to scrap increase in state pension age.
The House of Lords decision not to scrap the increase in the state pension age means half a million women will be retiring a year later than planned, and a more than 300,000 will have their retirement delayed by more than 18 months.
According to figures calculated by Saga, not a single man will be affected by the latest decision. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, women will see their retirement age increase by six years, while men will only face an increase of 12 months.
The decision has faced criticism as some feel the pension system already unfairly targets women, who traditionally are more reliant on the state pension as they have had less chance to build up a private pension due to breaks in their working life to bring up children and have lower incomes than men.
Dr Ros Altmann, director general of Saga, urged the Government to rethink its decision. She (SNP: ^SHEY – news) said: “The Government must think again. An amendment to the proposals, which would have seen any increase in women’s state pension age limited to a maximum of one extra year beyond the already accepted increases of 3, 4 or 5 years, was defeated by 226 votes to 214. There was clearly strong feeling that the Government is not acting correctly on this.”
The Government stated that it cannot increase men’s pension age before women’s due to EU law, but Saga say that instead increases for both men and women’s state pension age should be delayed until 2020.
Dr Altmann said: “Saga has been inundated with letters and emails from women desperate and furious about being betrayed in this way. Many explain that they have already retired to care for relatives, or that they are very ill and cannot keep working.
“These particular women had no chance to build up private pensions when they started working. Men of this age could join company schemes, but women working part-time were banned from company pensions. Yet the Government is making them bear the brunt of cost-saving measures designed to save money on pensions in the long-term.
“If life expectancy is increasing, then it is right that pension ages should rise, but it has to be done fairly, with sufficient notice for people to plan.”