March 11 2014 Latest news:
Adam Aiken, Editor
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Tens of thousands of women are set to benefit from a change to proposals surrounding a rise in the state pension age.
The government has said that a plan to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2020 will be delayed by six months, from April of that year to October, affecting 33,000 women.
Under the original plan plans, the pension age was due to rise for women from 60 to 65 by 2018 before rising to 66 in early 2020.
But that would mean that a group of women born in the 1950s might have had to wait up to two extra years to collect their pensions.
The Pensions Bill currently going through parliament will now be amended from the current timetable to cap the increased wait to a maximum of 18 months.
“We have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months,” said welfare secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
“We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible.”
It is thought the move will cost the taxpayer about £1.1bn.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The policy of increasing retirement age and equalising retirement age remains, but we have acknowledged the fact that there were some transitional issues with that change and we have been looking for some time at how to deal with those.”
Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, said: “[The government has] listened to our concerns and we appreciate that it is a significant financial commitment from the government at a difficult time.
“This will give a much-needed six-month respite to all the women who would have had to work an extra two years.”
But she added: “We would have liked the changes being made to have gone further. Having faced uncertainty twice already, these women must not be affected by any further changes to their state pension age again without sufficient notice.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who was a member of the Pensions Bill committee, also welcomed the news.
“I have always understood the concerns of this small number of constituents who have contacted me about the raise in pension age for women,” she said.
“The government has delivered on its promise to ease the transition for them and I welcome this.”