Millions forced to wait longer for pensions
Published on 29 March 2011 12:00 PM
Millions forced to wait longer for pensions under new Bill
Numbers affected larger than parliamentary majority for one in six MPs
There is growing anger at the Government's broken promises on State Pension Age rises, according to Age UK, as new figures reveal the number of affected women outstrips the majorities of MPs in 40 constituencies - a sixth of the House of Commons.
The charity is warning that millions will be denied the chance to plan properly for their retirement if the Government pushes ahead with its plans to speed up the rise in State Pension Age.
On the day that the Pensions Bill enters a key stage in the House of Lords, Age UK is predicting an angry backlash from female voters if the Bill goes through unchanged. Those potentially most at risk are the 19 Conservative MPs, 16 Labour MPs and five Liberal Democrat MPs who have a smaller majority than the number of women aged 56-57 in their constituencies the vast majority of whom will be directly affected by the plans.
Of those women, only those who turn 58 before 6 April this year will not be affected by the changes.
Those most at risk - top 10 constituency hotspots:
|1||Nicola Blackwood MP||Conservative||Oxford West and Abingdon|
|2||Jackie Doyle-Price MP||Conservative||Thurrock|
|3||Matthew Offord MP||Conservative||Hendon|
|4||Glenda Jackson MP||Labour||Hampstead and Kilburn|
|5||George Eustice MP||Conservative||Camborne and Redruth|
|6||Lorely Burt MP||Liberal Democrat||Solihull|
|7||Gloria De Piero MP||Labour||Ashfield|
|8||Julie Hilling MP||Labour||Bolton West|
|9||Mark Spencer MP||Conservative||Sherwood|
|10||Annette Brook MP||Liberal Democrat||Mid Dorset and North Poole|
For a full list of all constituencies click here. Over the past few weeks the charity has been inundated with emails and letters from thousands of women who are furious that having already revised their retirement plans to accommodate previous State Pension Age changes, they may now have to wait even longer for their pension. The vast majority of these women have signed up to Age UK's State Pension Age campaign and emailed their local MP asking them to support the Early Day Motion calling on the Government to revise the timetable for change.
In its current form the Bill intends to speed up the equalisation of the State Pension Age between men and women and increase the State Pension Age to 66 by 2020 - six years earlier than previously planned. Age UK is warning that these plans not only break a clear promise made in the Coalition Agreement last year but will fail to have an impact on the country's deficit because no savings will be made until 2016 at the earliest - by which time the Government plans to have eliminated the deficit entirely.
Recent focus group research for the charity revealed a high level of anger about the plans. Despite a clear understanding of the need for an increased State Pension Age due to increasing life expectancy, the participants were universally shocked by the speed of the hike in State Pension Age. More worryingly many mistakenly believed they were still going to retire at 60.
If given the green light, the Government's plans will not only cost the worst affected women up to £10,000 in lost pension income, they will force millions of women and men to wait longer for vital benefits such as Pension Credit which will also go up in line with the State Pension Age. The changes, which will affect almost five million people, will force even greater hardship on those who are more heavily reliant on the state pension: those from poorer backgrounds with lower than average life expectancy; those who suffer from health problems or a disability, limiting their ability to carry on working; those who are unemployed with little hope of finding work in their fifties and already stuck in financial limbo; and those with full-time caring responsibilities.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director, said:
'By breaking its promise on the State Pension Age, the Government is hurting millions of hard-working people who believed their retirement was just around the corner. MPs must wake up to the unfairness of these proposals and the level of anger simmering away in their constituencies.
'Given that life expectancy is increasing, the Government is right to look at reforming the pensions system. But this is too much, too soon. The Pensions Bill must be amended to ensure that the current timetable for equalisation remains and any increase to the State Pension Age beyond 65 does not start until at least 2020.
'Pressing ahead with these changes will deny millions of people the chance to plan properly for retirement. And it will condemn the very poorest in our society to yet more hardship as they struggle to manage without the state pension and benefits they were counting on.'
Marion, born June 1954, said:
'It seems most unjust and unfair that having worked for 40 years and contributed so much to the economy this is being forced on me with so little time and opportunity to make any arrangements'
Christine, born July 1954, said:
'It's appalling. We've already accepted one change but it's the fact that we are getting a double whammy… When cutbacks are shared across the population that's OK but this is a case where a small group has been singled out for extra sacrifice because of our date of birth. That's unfair.'
- ENDS -
Notes to editors
- Mid-2009 Population Estimates for Parliamentary Constituencies in England and Wales by Single Year of Age and Sex, ONS
- Case studies and Age UK spokespeople are available for interview. To arrange, please contact Helen Spinney on tel: 020 8765 7502 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Fiona Callister on tel: 020 8765 7439 or email@example.com.
- For further information about the campaign, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/spa
- For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
- The proposals in the Pensions Bill would mean that nationwide, 2.6 million women would have to wait longer before they reach their State Pension Age (SPA). Of these:
- Around 330,000 women born between December 1953 and October 1954 would see their SPA increased by 18 months or longer.
- 33,000 women born between 6 March 1954 and 5 April 1954 would see their SPA rise by two years.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over five million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).
Media contact: Helen Spinney
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