State Pension 

Pensions minister rules out changes to women's state pension

Pensions minister rules out changes to women's state pension

Making changes to the state pension age arrangements for women born in the 1950s would cost more than £70bn, according to pensions minister Guy Opperman.

Speaking at the House of Commons yesterday (9 October), Mr Opperman said the government will not be revisiting this question, which has been brought to light by Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaigners.

He was answering Labour MP David Hanson, who asked Mr Opperman if he would be supporting a bill to provide for transitional arrangements to be put in place for women who discovered they would have to wait up to six years longer than they expected for their state pension.

The bill, introduced by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, has the support from members of all parties, and it will be debated on 27 April in the House of Commons, Mr Hanson said.

Mr Opperman said: “The new state pension is much more generous for the many women who were historically worse off under the old system.

"More than three million women stand to gain an average of £550 extra per year by 2030 as a result of these changes."

The Waspi campaign started as a result of failures of communication on behalf of the Department for Work & Pensions to inform women back in 1995 that the state pension age was set to increase.

Even in 2011, with the new Pensions Act, information about the change was not disseminated, meaning many women had not made enough provision to compensate for the unexpected gap between the age at which they actually retired, and the new, higher, date at which the state would start paying their expected pension entitlements.

To date, the Waspi campaign represents approximately 3.5 million women who, according to the campaigners, are suffering from huge financial difficulties as a result of the miscommunication of the change to the state pension age.

According to Steve Carlson, chartered financial planner at Cardiff-based Carlson Wealth Management, “changes had to be made as the rising costs of the previous system was unsustainable”.

He said: “While I am sympathetic to the women effected, I am more sympathetic to the generation below them who will have to pay more for longer to get less later.”

Last month, the Labour party announced it would allow women born in the 1950s to access a reduced state pension at the age of 64, instead of 66.

Waspi campaigners, however, have dismissed this proposal.

They said this would only applies to some Waspi women and is no better than the actuarial reduced pension suggested some time ago, and rejected by the Waspi campaign at the time.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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