Women face poverty fears when new state pension launches

The state pension age is being equalisied, but has left hundreds of thousands of women born in the 1950s losing out

Singer Bonnie Tyler is one of many women who will each 65 next year
Singer Bonnie Tyler is one of many women who will each 65 next year

The level of the New State Pension due to be launched in April 2016 will be announced in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. Experts expect it to be set at around £155 per week. Those already retired will be largely unaffected by the impending changes.

Almost 13m people now claim state pension with the average payment £130.30 a week, according to the latest government figures.

Tom McPhail of Hargreaves Lansdown said: “The reforms will simplify the system. However the transition will not be straightforward and the government does not yet appear to have got to grips with how to communicate the changes effectively.”

A new book warns that the state pension changes will ensure that older women in the UK will lose out disproportionately and will suffer greater poverty as a result. It points out that shockingly only 20,000 women will actually qualify for the new full state pension compared to 130,000 men in its first year 2016-2017.

On top of that many women will suffer the double whammy of being forced to work longer because pensionable age rises from the 60 they expected when they started work to 65 and then eventually to 67, points out Neoliberalising Old Age author John Macnicol.

"The greatest feminisation of poverty and welfare benefit reliance occurs in old age," he says. "The transition to retirement involves, on average, a step down to half of a household’s pre-retirement income and a widening of inequalities. Those of gender are perhaps the most striking: women outnumber men in the pensioner population by almost two-to-one and therefore all discussions of income support in retirement are really discussions about the poverty of older women.

Simon Read at London Live 10.11.2015

"Only a minority of women reaching state pension age have been entitled to a full basic state pension: the proportion has slowly risen, but was still only 46 per cent in 2013, in contrast to 80 per cent in the case of men – what Secretary of State Alan Johnson in 2004 called ‘a national scandal’."

The campaigning group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has been petitioning the Government to reverse its decision not to award transitional financial help to those affected but who were not told about the state pension changes. You'll find the group's petition at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776

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