Government may push back rise in female retirement age

Government May Delay Raising Women's State Pension Age

Government May Delay Raising Women’s State Pension Age

Following sustained campaigning by the Liberal Democrats, Labour and trade unions, ministers are in the process of finalising plans to delay raising the retirement age for women, the Financial Times reported.

The retirement age to qualify for state pension for both men and women has currently been proposed at 66 years in 2020 for both men and women and the pensions bill is scheduled to be debated in the parliament today.

Work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan said he will try to ensure that women got a better deal.

“I understand there are issues and problems and I’ll constantly look at ways to see whether there’s a way of doing (something) about that”, he said.

The Pensions Bill Second Reading was an opportunity for the government to make amendments, said industry experts.

Liberal Democrats and some Conservatives were uncomfortable with the idea and the industry is aware of that, said Saga director Ros Altmann.

“It is very important that we do not call this a u-turn. There are better ways of achieving the same aims. Womens’ pension age is set to rise by six years while mens will rise by one year. It is clear that women are being hit harder than men”, she argued.

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQ), David Cameron has been repeatedly challenged on this issue, said Ms Altmann.

“The prime minister’s answers do not stand up to scrutiny. He says we need to increase state pension age – that is true, but we have to give people fair notice.

“He says we have to put our pension system on a sustainable footing as life expectancy rises. Again, this is true, but can be achieved in a better way without the unfairness.

“He also says we have to deal with the deficit – once more that is right but the current proposals do not save any money in this Parliament anyway, so the rush is nothing to do with the deficit”, she contended.

However, not everybody agrees with Ms Altmann. David Cameron’s PMQs are clear and unambiguous and minister for pensions Steve Webb has echoed the government’s view, Tom McPhail, head of Pensions Research at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

“There is lots of misinformation going around at the moment. Ian Duncan Smith is saying there is some room for some concessions and by saying that he is acknowledging it will happen”, said Mr. McPhail.

“I am quite surprised at that. My expectation is that the government will not be giving ground on this. Rachel Reeves is looking to lock horns with the government on this one but I don’t know if the government will just steam roll it through anyway.

“I hope the whole thing is put to bed today but it probably won’t be”, he added.

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