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State pension age petition hits 100,000

Petition criticising increases in the state pension age for women born in 1950s gathers enough signatures for a parliamentary debate. 

State pension age petition hits 100,000

A campaign criticising ‘unfair’ increases in the state pension age for women born in the 1950s has reached the 100,000 petition signatures needed for the matter to be debated in parliament.

The 1995 Pensions Act first set out incremental women’s state pension age (SPA) rises from 60 to 65 to equalise it with men’s.

The 2011 Pensions Act then accelerated the timetable so women’s SPA would hit 65 by 2018 and both men and women would have a retirement age of 66 by 2020, meaning some women would have to wait an extra 18 months to receive their state pension.

Women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1953 still have a SPA set by the 1995 Pensions Act of between 60 and 63 because they reach SPA before the introduction of the new state pension.

An online petition protesting against these changes was started by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign.

It is calling for all women born on or after 6 April 1951 affected by the changes to the state pension age to be ‘put in exactly the same financial position they would have been’ in if they had been born on or before 5 April 1950.

A backbench debate led by Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black had already been scheduled for 7 January, but passing the 100,000 signature mark means Waspi’s petition must be considered for a full parliamentary debate.

The Downing Street Petitions Committee can decide not to debate an issue that gains 100,000 signatures, but this is rare, with only two currently listed on the government’s online petition website as being refused a debate.

Petitions to have recently hit the 100,000 mark and subsequently be debated include calls against airstrikes in Syria and the protection of bees from certain pesticides.

Waspi co-founder Anne Keen described reaching the landmark as an ‘emotional’ moment in the campaign.

In its response to the SPA petition, the Department for Work and Pensions said it would not be revisiting the arrangements, and that all women affected have been directly contacted following the changes.

‘The policy decision to increase women’s SPA is designed to remove the inequality between men and women,’ the DWP said. ‘The cost of prolonging this inequality would be several billions of pounds. Parliament extensively debated the issue and listened to all arguments both for and against the acceleration of the timetable to remove this inequality. The decision was approved by Parliament in 2011 and there is no new evidence to consider.’

The 2014 Pensions Act does provide for a six-yearly review of the SPA to take into account up-to-date life expectancy data and the findings of an independently-led review. The first such review will conclude by May 2017.

5 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Hampshire cynic.

Jan 04, 2016 at 17:42

It does seem that some women at some ages are going to be losing out, and this does seem to be unfair in many ways.

However, at the risk of bringing down much aggro onto my head, it does need to be remembered that female life expectancy is somewhat higher, according to what every actuary maintains, than us poor males. I will not be rash enough to give possible reasons for this!

So, over the long term, pension payouts should be roughly similar across the sexes.

I feel little vexed that I started taking my State Pension some years ago and will not therefore be getting any uplift to the new or proposed c£155pw level! It would be a waste of time to try and get Parliament to debate this 'unfairness' as we simply cannot afford as a country to do what everyone wants for their own situation. That nice/stupid/devious Gordon Brown wasted so much of our taxes on undeserving welfare a few years ago, and that cannot be reversed in quick time as we are seeing currently.

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Jan 04, 2016 at 17:51

How's that going to work? We are already part way through the transitional period with many women born after 6/4/51 now receiving their pensions. Given that there can no longer be a legal distinction between the sexes (car insurance is now the same) and we are phasing in a common retirement age, what would the debate be about?

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mark antrobus

Jan 04, 2016 at 19:10

There is absolutely no reason why women should still be able to claim a state benefit namely the state pension at a younger age than men. As the article states, the equalisation was first set in motion in 1995, which is more than enough time to adjust one's expectations. Given that average life expectancy, once someone has reached 60, is probably in the upper 80s, how can there possibly be justification for spending nearly 30 years living at the expense of a younger working population? And just to clarify for people are genuinely unable to work there is still disability benefits or JSA. The only real justification for an earlier exception would be people who have worked a lifetime of a hard manual job and cannot physically carry on - in practice mostly men.

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J Thomas

Jan 05, 2016 at 14:02

As women live on average three years longer than men there is surely justification for men to receive the state pension at 67, and women at age 70.

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Jan 05, 2016 at 22:32

It is an argument of course JT, but in that case women's car insurance should reduce, life assurance should increase etc. Equalisation if fine but it should have been phased in better.

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