The government will have to answer questions on state pension age increases for women, after a campaign group secured a parliamentary debate on the subject.
Having reached 100,000 signatures - currently standing at 118,108 at time of writing - the Women Against State Pension Inequality group has secured a parliamentary debate on the subject, set for 1 February.
The campaigners originally called on the government to make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6 April 1951 “who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the state pension age”, adding that “hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with a lack of appropriate notification”.
The government responded that state pension age changes were first made in 1995 and all women affected have been directly contacted following the changes. “There are no plans to alter state pension age arrangements for this group,” read the official line.
The 1995 Pensions Act first set out incremental women’s state pension age rises from 60 to 65, in order to equalise with men’s, with the Pensions Act 2007 then raising the pension age for both women and men from 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046.
The 2011 Pensions Act accelerated this timetable, so that women’s state pension age would hit 65 by 2018 and both men and women would have a retirement age of 66 by 2020. This meant some women would have to wait an extra two years to receive their state pension, later capped at 18 months and at a cost of £1bn.
The issue was debated in Westminster Hall last month, reached the House of Commons after Mhairi Black, the Scottish National Party MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, secured a further debate.
That took place last week, with overwhelming support for ‘transitional measures’ to compensate those affected by the changes.
Ms Black complained that the problem was that nobody knew about this problem. “Not a single letter was sent out by the government to women. There was no official correspondence between the government and the individuals affected alerting them to the changes.”
Helen Jones MP, chair of the petitions committee, will lead the next debate at the start of February.