Falling off a pensions cliff

Submitted by AWL on 10 October, 2018 - 10:12 Author: Colin Foster

Protests are growing among women now in their early 60s who find their state pension age receding fast as they get older.

Although Britain’s first old age pensions, from 1908, were payable only over 70 years old, for many decades after Labour’s welfare-state reforms from 1945 the pension age seemed fixed at 65 for men and 60 for women.

With more working-class people living longer, the Thatcher and Major Tory governments started the axe. From 1995 the law was changed. Blair and Brown let the Tory changes proceed, and then in 2011 Cameron made them markedly worse.
In the supposed name of equality, the pension age is due to rise for everyone to 68. The effect is much worse for women, whose pension age becomes eight years older, than for men, who have to wait only three more years.

The women affected now are women who grew up and planned their lives on an apparently-fixed pension age of 60, and now find it disappearing. Even worse, they complain that the Government has made little effort to tell them about the change, and some find out only when on the edge of retirement.

The last women to get a state pension at 60 were those born in April 1950. The women’s pension age then increased fairly slowly until 2016, when women born in February 1953 were getting their pensions at age 63.

Then, a sudden increase, legislated in 2011: those born in November 1953 are getting their pensions only at age 65.
By October 2020 both men and women born in October 1954 will be getting pensions at age 66, and after that the pension age for both men and women will rise simultaneously, towards 68 for both and then further.

Campaigners are trying to get a change in government policy by judicial review.

A parliamentary committee has called for transitional arrangements to help women who had never planned to, and can’t, work until 66, and now find themselves walking off the edge of a cliff.

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