Edinburgh Labour MPs today called for a rethink on the plans to speed up the raising of the pension age for women, warning the change would force many families to change their plans for the future.
Under the new Pension Bill proposals, women’s pension age will increase to 65, in line with men’s, by 2018 and the increase, along with men’s, to 66 by 2020, six years earlier than originally planned.
The change mainly affects women currently aged 57-58, but the worst hit are at the younger end of that group.
According to charity Age UK, women born between April 6 and May 5, 1953, will have to carry on working until July 2016, two months longer than under the previous timetable for increasing the pension age.
Women born between March 6 and April 5, 1954, will not be able to claim their pension until March 2020, a full two years later than originally proposed.
Mark Lazarowicz, Labour MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said the changes had been sprung on women without giving them fair notice.
He said: “Many people are unaware of what is going to happen because the Government has not properly publicised the changes.
“Across Edinburgh, about 5000 are likely to be hit. Most of these women are likely to rely on the state pension as a high proportion of women in this age group don’t have a private pension.
“Of course some people are happy to work on but it’s just not that simple for everyone to go on working – over a third of those affected are no longer in paid work because they are in ill-health or caring for others.”
Edinburgh East Labour MP Sheila Gilmore said: “Many of these are women who have juggled working lives with raising a family, and who, through no fault of their own, have very little retirement saving to fall back on. The lack of warning means they do not have enough time to adjust carefully-thought-out retirement plans, and leaves them feeling robbed of their pension.”
Trade unions and organisations such as Age UK and Saga say they accept the need for the pension age to rise but argue people must have time to prepare. Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said: “Despite the coalition agreement stating that they would not raise the state pension age for women before 2020, the Government has made another U-turn.
“I will be fighting these changes every step of the way to ensure fairness for those approaching retirement, not the feeling that the goalposts keep being moved.”
The Department of Work and Pensions said with forecasts that ten million people across the UK will live to 100, the country could not continue paying the state pension at an age which was set early last century.
Although women would experience the pension age rising more quickly than planned, they would still draw the state pension for an average of 23 years.