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
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

    Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

    £20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

    Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

    £20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Execution Trader

    £30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global Rolling Spot FX, Comm...

    Citifocus Ltd: ACA - Financial Reporting

    £Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game