PensionsAug 2 2017

Women's fury at impact of state pension age change

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Women's fury at impact of state pension age change
ByStephanie Hawthorne

Campaigners have emphasised the "devastating consequences" of government changes to the women's state pension age, after a report found a million women have been made significantly poorer in retirement as a result.

Between 2010 and 2016, the state pension age for women rose from age 60 to 63. 

The report from the highly regard think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies found 60 to 62 year old women had lost out by £32 a week as result of raising the female state pension age.

The reduction is similar in cash terms for richer and poorer households, meaning that while the average drop in proportional terms is 12 per cent, the decline is significantly larger, on average, for low income households, at 21 per cent, than for high income households, at 4 per cent.

The result is that 1.1 million fewer women are receiving a state pension and government is providing £4.2bn less through state pensions and other benefits.

Commenting on the report, the director of Women Against State Pension Inequality, a group which campaigns on behalf of women disadvantaged by the changes to the state pension age, Jane Crowley said: "Once again, this shows that the government has implemented state pension age reforms without adequately considering the full impact of these changes on the women affected.

"Whether it is is the 3.5m women who were not given sufficient warning of rises to their state pension age or the sharp rise in income poverty among 60 to 61 year old women, the government needs to sti up and start realising that its changes have devastating consquences on the women affected.

"Yet again it is women who are paying the price for the government's pension reforms. This simply isn't good enough when the UK already has one of the highest pension pay gaps in Europe."

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at one of the UK's largest independent providers of actuarial and pension administration and services, said the findings compound the fact that women have traditionally always done worse than men in being able to build up pension rights both through the state pension system and privately.

"Because of caring responsibilities and staying at home to bring up children they have not received the type and level of occupational pensions that men have and despite protections brought in by successive governments have often fallen short on the full state pension as well. A double whammy no less."

He added:  "It was right to bring women’s state pension age into line with men’s although there was and remain question marks about the adequacy of government communications in that respect.