Simon Read: Why should women have to lose their retirement income?

Women marched on Westminster this week to complain about the Government moving their pension goalposts. They had a massively important point to make. The Coalition's intention to raise the state pension age to 66 by 2020 will affect five million people and simply does not give them enough time to plan. It also risks plunging thousands of women into poverty, according to the charity Age UK, which arranged Wednesday's demonstration at Parliament.

About 2.6 million women will have to wait at least a year longer for their state pension because of the change and the plan to speed up the rate at which their state pension age is increased to 65 years, in line with men's. Among these, there are 330,000 women who will have to wait an extra 18 months to two years before they can start drawing the benefit.

Those forced to wait two years will lose an average of £10,000 of their state pension income. And it is not the first time they have been hit by politicians messing with the pensions system after the previous Labour government set in place proposals to raise the state pension age to 65 by 2020.

Age UK warned that many of the women affected by the changes are either carers or in poor health, which means working for longer is not an option for them. The shadow Pensions Minister, Rachel Reeves, said: "The Government is unfairly targeting women with this sudden rise in the state pension age, leaving them little time to plan. If these plans become law, they will leave women with little time to prepare for their retirement."

The Department for Work and Pensions was unapologetic about the proposals, and pointed out that the world has changed considerably since the state pension age was set at the beginning of the 20th century. With increased longevity, state payments have to last for longer. The proposals are logical in terms of balancing the books and ensuring the state can meet its future pension commitments, but the timing is unfair.

The Government should listen to the complaints from the disadvantaged women and revise the proposals accordingly. Arguments that the proposals will only affect women born between 1953 and 1954 are wrong-headed.

"Putting pensions on a sustainable long-term footing does not justify the sudden increase being imposed on one group of women at such short notice, especially when the Government knows that these particular women are more vulnerable than men and have little or no private pension wealth," said Ros Altmann, the director-general of Saga, the company focused on serving the needs of the over-50s.

It is unfair for any woman to lose out simply because of her birthdate. For tens of thousands to have retirement plans thrown into disarray by some thoughtless decision-making is an injustice. The Government should rethink its pension proposals.

Safeguard your future finances

there was frightening news this week about how unprepared we all are. First, Scottish Widows warned that a third of households could not cope financially should the main breadwinner lose his or her income. Yet only 7 per cent of families has an income protection policy.

The cover is relatively cheap and, while times are tough for many families, income protection could prove to be a wise investment if someone did lose their job or was unable to work through illness. However, like all insurance, it is a gamble. Me? I like to have the peace of mind of knowing that my children would not suffer financially if I was unable to work.

The second survey was from Aviva and showed that 72 per cent of people do not contribute to a workplace pension because they cannot afford to. Paying into a pension may not seem high on your priorities at the moment – especially if you are under 40 – but as you start to approach retirement, you will regret not stashing more cash away – especially if you turned down the chance of having your employer add to your pension pot on top of your contributions.

The Government's auto-enrolment scheme, which launches next year, will improve the situation but there is no need to wait until then to start saving for your retirement.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners: 10 top tips for retirement. Get your free guide here

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Computer Science)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...

    C#.NET Delphi SQL Developer (C#,DELPHI,SQL)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...

    VB.NET SQL Junior-Mid Level Developer (VB.NET,SQL,Excellent com

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...

    Trade Support, Application Support, Operations Analyst, CRM MS

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...

    Day In a Page

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players