Nearly 47,000 people have signed a parliamentary petition calling for fair transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6th April 1951 who are affected by the state pension age increase.
The petition, which runs to April 2016, was created by action group Women Against State Pension Inequality.
It states that, while the 1995 Conservative government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s SPA to 65 – the same as men’s – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice (1995/2011 Pension Acts), faster than promised (2011 Pension Act), and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.
The petition was boosted by Commons debates on 2 and 3 December on the issue, requested by Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South.
Ms Keeley said: “Women born in the 1950s, and who are affected by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011, have been treated badly by the Conservative-led government. They have not been properly informed of the changes and not given time to prepare for them. They are unfairly bearing the burden and the personal costs of the increases in state pension age.”
She said this has affected millions of women across the country: “Many of the women affected are living in real financial hardship and feel betrayed by the government. I have urged the work and pensions secretary to look at bringing in transitional protection to help the many women who are struggling financially due to the changes in pension age.”
Liz McInnes, MP for Heywood and Middleton, said: “There is a real north-south divide in life expectancy, and it is predicted that by 2030 a woman living in Kensington and Chelsea will have a life expectancy of 91.2 years, but for women in Manchester, it will be 84.7.
“Yet no consideration is given to these inequalities in the national imposition of delays to the pension age.
“These women deserve to be treated fairly, and I call upon government to consider the unequal treatment given to women born in the 1950s and the inadequate notice they were given of the increase to the SPA. I urge the government to revisit the transitional arrangements for those women.”
Ruth Whitehead, IFA at London-based Ruth Whitehead Associates, said: “The SPA change affects me, although I knew about it because I work in the industry.
“It has not been at all well-publicised. If a one-year difference in birthday can make a three-year difference to the SPA, then how on earth can that be equality? It’s an absolute nonsense.
“Women still have less pension progress than men, they are still paid less, and many missed out on contributions to a workplace scheme. The government brought in an unequal method of achieving equality, which would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”