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Increases in the State Pension age for women born in the 1950s

Published Thursday, March 24, 2016

Briefing regarding the impact of legislation increasing the State Pension age for women born in the 1950s

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The Pensions Act 1995 provided for the State Pension age (SPA) for women to increase from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020. The Coalition Government legislated in the Pensions Act 2011 to accelerate the latter part of this timetable, so that women’s SPA will now reach 65 in November 2018. The reason was increases in life expectancy since the timetable was last revised. It had initially intended that the equalised SPA would then rise to 66 by April 2020. However, because of concerns expressed about the impact on women born in March 1954 who would see their SPA increase by as much as two years as a result, it decided that this should happen over a longer period, with the SPA reaching 66 in October 2020. 

Some women born in the 1950s argue they have been hit particularly hard, with significant changes to their SPA imposed with a lack of appropriate notification. However, the Government has said it has no plans to make policy changes (HC Deb 24 February 2016 c336).

There was a Westminster Hall debate on the issue on 2 December 2015. In a backbench business debate on  7 January 2016, the House voted in support of a motion tabled by Mhairi Black calling for transitional arrangements for women negatively affected by SPA equalisation. However, such motions are not binding on the Government. There was a further debate on 1 February 2016 on a petition by Women Against State Pension Inequality. On Wednesday 24 February the House voted against an Opposition motion calling on the Government to bring forward transitional arrangements.

In a report published on 15 March 2016, the Work and Pensions Committee concluded that “more could and should have been done” to communicate the planned increases, especially between 1995 and 2009. It called on the Government to “explore the option of permitting a defined group of women who have been affected by state pension age changes to take early retirement, from a specified age, on an "actuarially neutral basis”.  On 18 March it launched a further inquiry to explore the possible effects of early drawing of state pension.

More information can be found in the following Library Briefing Papers:

The table attached below shows the SPA for women with different dates of birth under the 1995 and 2011 Acts.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7405

Author: Djuna Thurley

Topic: Pensions

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