Simon Read: Women are still set to be unfairly hit by raising the retirement age

There was a small victory for pension campaigners this week when the Government backtracked slightly on plans to raise the state pension age.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced that a plan to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2020 will now be delayed by six months from April 2020 to October 2020. That's important to the 33,000 women who had been facing an extra two-year wait for their pension under the original plans.

But it still leaves women born between 6 March and 5 April 1954 facing having to work for an extra 18 months than they had expected.

And it's estimated that they'll still end up with £7,500 less than if they had been able to claim the state pension when they had been told they would be eligible. Sure, they have a few years to make some adjustments to their finances; to cope with the change in dates and anticipated income, but adequate pension planning needs to be done over a lifetime of work, not mucked about with when you're approaching retirement.

But worse is the fact that many of these woman may not simply be able to work for another 18 months to make up for the lost state pension. Many, for instance, have been busy raising families rather than concentrating on their career and so would find it nigh-on impossible to find work now, with unemployment soaring.

There are also those women who have physically demanding jobs, points out Chris Ball, chief executive of Taen, The Age and Employment Network.

"For these women to be asked to wait for their pension without making adequate provision to allow them to change roles and ease down in later life is harsh at best," he says.

"While some good employers recognise this and have made flexible working and retirement available, there are huge numbers of jobs where this is just not possible and, with part-time roles in free-fall, people will be asking: 'Are you really expecting us to work until we drop?'"

It's hard to quibble with the economic and financial need to raise retirement ages, but it should not be done without regard to the negative effect it will have on some. It's clearly unfair that 33,000 women will end up penalised, simply because of when they were born.

This week's tinkering with the pension age proposals is a step in the right direction, but the Government should recognise the unfairness of the process and ensured there is no injustice.

E nergy companies are making £125 profit per customer in a year. Of course, the firms have a right to make a profit, but that figure sounds close to profiteering. Bear in mind that the recent round of price hikes has seen the average dual-fuel bill increase by £175. The average annual gas and electricity charge has now soared to £1,345. That's enough to push more people closer to being in fuel poverty, when 10 per cent of their income goes towards paying for home energy. And once people are in fuel poverty, they can be forced to make the stark choice between eating and heating their home.

Ofgem plans to reform the energy market, starting with simpler charges so we can more easily compare rival deals. The regulator's chief, Alistair Buchanan, conceded that consumers don't have confidence that the market is truly competitive. He's right. The big energy companies sometimes appear to be acting as a cartel, raising prices together. We need to see proper competition return to gas and electricity prices.

Energy: Now could be the time to switch

In just five months the profit margins for energy companies have climbed from £15 per customer in June, to a staggering £125 per customer, per year – an increase of more than 700 per cent. "If bill payers ever needed encouragement to make a stand against the energy giants then now they have it and it's going to be up to the individual to make a difference to their own energy bills," said Scott Byrom, energy manager at MoneySupermarket.

He said that, despite the recent round of price hikes, the majority of UK households are staying loyal to their energy provider. More than half of households have never switched and are therefore paying over the odds for their gas and electricity.

"Those who aren't shopping around for the best deal, are simply burning money," says Byrom. The cheapest online tariff available is nPower's Sign Online 24, with annual bills of £1,050 on average.

Alternatively, you can fix prices to safeguard against future increases with deals from EDF Energy (Fix for 2012) or OVO Energy (New Energy Fixed), although the latter is not available in all regions.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam