30,000 women facing two-year state pension delay

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Indy Politics

Around 30,000 women will be forced to work for two years longer than they had previously planned because of increases to the state pension age.

Women born between March 6 and April 5 1954 were due to be able to start drawing their state pension when they were 64, but under moves introduced by the new Government to save money they will now have to wait until they are 66.

A total of 5.1 million people will be affected by the plans to increase the state pension age to 66 between 2018 and 2020, but these women will face the longest wait of two years.

The change will cost them £5,078 a year in pension payments at the current rate of £97.65 a week, although the figure could be as high as £7,280 a year if the Government presses ahead with plans to raise the state pension to £140 a week.

Labour's pensions spokeswoman, Rachel Reeves, who obtained the figures through a Parliamentary question, called for the increase to 66 to be delayed until 2022.

She said: "I understand the implications of increasing longevity, and agree that reducing the deficit is a priority, but the legislation is arbitrarily hitting women born in 1954 too harshly, while making no impact on deficit reduction in this Parliament.

"Some 300,000 women born in 1953 and 1954 have already had to adapt to one major revision as women's state pension age was increased from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020 and they are now being forced to work for over 18 months longer.

"In the most extreme case, around 33,000 of these women, including my mother, will have to work for two more years before they get their basic state pension, with only seven years to prepare."

The previous government had planned to increase the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020, and to 66 by 2026 for both sexes.

But the new Government has brought the change forward, so that women will have a state pension age of 65 by 2018, and everyone will have one of 66 by 2020.

The move will save £30 billion between 2015 and 2025, while it is also estimated that the Treasury will receive an extra £8.1 billion through the income tax and National Insurance contributions of people who are working for longer than previously expected.

The Government defended the move, saying the 30,000 women who would have to wait for an additional two years, represented only 1% of the 2.6 million women who would be affected by the change.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said: "In a country where 10 million of us will live to be 100, we simply can't go on paying the state pension at an age that was set early in the last century.

"Although women will experience the rise in the state pension age more quickly than previously planned, they will still draw the state pension for longer, and our 'triple guarantee' means someone retiring today on a full basic state pension will receive £15,000 more over their retirement than they would have done under the old prices link."