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Women's state pension age - what do you think?

(101 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 21-Jan-16 17:17:43

Hello all

Parliament's Petitions Committee has been in touch - having seen our webchat with Mhairi Black about women's state pension ages - to ask whether gransnetters would like to have some input into a Westminster Hall debate about the issue.

This debate is as a result of a petition calling for the government to 'Make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950s women' getting the required number of signatures for a Parliament debate.

The Committee is after gransnetters' thoughts on the following questions; you can see links to the first Commons debate here (video) and here (transcript).

- What were the most important points in the first debate for you? What do you think should have been covered that was not?

- What points do you think a second debate should focus on?

- What questions would you ask the Minister following their response to the debate?

Your thoughts will be fed back to MPs taking part in the Westminster Hall debate.


Sadiesnan Thu 21-Jan-16 21:46:18

Why aren't there any transitional arrangements in place?

Why were we given so little notice?

Despite knowing that a wrong decision has been made, why is the government refusing to take steps to rectify the situation?

Mr Vara speaks about the need for equality, so where are the men that have been treated so badly?

As the issue of a lifetime of low pay and inequality has never been rectified for these women, doesn't the present government have a duty to offer all of us affected, some recompense?

How will the present government feel if we take the government to court and win, like in Holland?

Jane10 Thu 21-Jan-16 22:08:54

Sadiesnan says it all. I wonder though, even if it is discussed, will any retrospective changes be made. Will it just be another expensive talking shop? Am feeling a bit cynical about it. Is it a 'pat the Grans on the head and let them think we're actually doing something' sort of thing?

Eloethan Thu 21-Jan-16 23:01:26

Fortunately, I am already in receipt of my state pension but I am angry that a significant number of women have been very badly affected by these changes.

In the debate, it was pointed out that the state pension was not a benefit - it was a contract into which people entered having been led to understand that, having paid the requisite number of contributions, at the age of 60 they would be entitled to their state pension.

Women were apparently only notified of the changes during the period 2009-2013 (and it was stated that some women received conflicting information - or no information) 14 years after the Act came into being. Was that not a dereliction of duty on the part of the government? It meant that women only have a very short time in which to try to prepare for the altered situation.

Is there any legal redress for this situation, given that a representation was made which was then broken, without adequate notice and with no sum of money being made available to compensate for the loss?

It is a national disgrace.

Alima Fri 22-Jan-16 07:57:30

I am counting down the months until I receive my state pension and bus pass and think how different it would be if I had been born three and a half years earlier. I also wonder why we did not shout when the changes in state pension age for women were first announced in 1995. Why didn't we?

M0nica Fri 22-Jan-16 08:19:35

I absolutely concur with everything said above. I think they say everything that needs to be said.

What is needed is as many Gransnetters as possible to say that they support this cause, even though many of us are not in that unfortunate group.

DotMH1901 Fri 22-Jan-16 09:38:50

What annoys me most is the constant message from the Government that women only have to wait a maximum of 18 months extra - total rubbish, I have to wait a further 6+ years despite, like most women impacted, having more than enough NI contributions to receive my pension. I wasn't advised by the DWP of the changes - most women I know didn't receive any information either. WASPI are actively campaigning to get our situation recognised and remedied, I wouldn't mind waiting just 18 months longer but 6 years + is not fair.

Gracesgran Fri 22-Jan-16 10:11:16

The changes have been incredibly unfair. Those of us lucky to retire at 60 after the expectation to do that all our working lives are no different to those who paid in expecting the same and being forced to work longer or, if unable to do through illness, to live on savings or benefit.

There was never any need to do this in this way. We have known since the 50s that there would be more of us retiring as there were more alive - it wasn't rocket science. But more people did not mean fewer payments into the NI system and it is debatable whether we benefit from raising the pension age in this way.

"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. " ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

Sadiesnan Fri 22-Jan-16 11:05:33

Yes, I was born in 1954 so I'm disadvantaged on both counts. I've have my 40 years contributions, so it isn't fair at all. I've had to retire due to ill health, there's no way I could continue working.

I'm now 61 and I have to wait until I'm nearly 66 to get my pension. I always planned to retire at 60 and I made all my financial plans around this fact.

I feel I have been let down terribly by this decision, plus I have been given hardly any notice to change my plans.

Sadiesnan Fri 22-Jan-16 11:09:17

The other thing is those of us who can not claim our pensions don't get all the other things like bus passes and reduced entry fees to the local leisure centre. Yet women just a few months older than me get all these things. It just isn't right.

It would be much fairer to phase this change in gradually but the massive jump from 60 to 66 and 10 months is clearly wrong on every count.

Why is this group of women being penalised in this unfair way?

Why can't the changes be made gradually?

Teetime Fri 22-Jan-16 14:10:32

I agree with what has already been said. I was born in 1953 so I should get my State Pension in aa couple of weeks time 3 years after I thought I would get it before I got that I had a notice from the Tax Office tell me what code had changed so lumps will be taken out of my occupational pension- very quick to get onto that I see. I don't get a three year break from that.

womblekelly Fri 22-Jan-16 14:11:53

It doesn't just affect the state pension entitlement. My private pension is written to age 60 and the pension company are not prepared to extend that. Taking out a new private pension from age 60 to 66 is a total waste of money as I will lose out due to charges and it being such a short space of time. Surely I'm not the only one in this predicament.

netty024 Fri 22-Jan-16 14:35:19

I was born in 1952, and worked from being 16 years of age. I receive my state pension in November 2013, I was 61years and 10 months old. I was always led to believe that I would receive my pension when I was 60. The government are able to "change the rules, as and when they wish." without any consultation with what I class "normal" people. We don't all have large mansions to live in, or over £50.0000 salaries. As already stated a lot of people had made plans for their retirement at 60!!!! It is always a case of I'm alright JACK, sod the workers!!!! (Rant Over)

Roxannediane Fri 22-Jan-16 14:44:18

I was born in 1956 and was made redundant 5 years ago - I have another 6+ years until I get my pension, when previously I would have received it this year.... I could not get another job and now help out with my grandchildren, a lovely job but unpaid. My pension would have really helped out at this time. I did not expect to be so financially constrained at this time of my life.

aprilgrace Fri 22-Jan-16 14:56:09

66 and 10 months? Has it gone up again?

FarNorth Fri 22-Jan-16 14:57:01

I think the most important point is : "What is to be done to rectify the situation?".

Angela Heasman, a Shoreham constituent, was quoted by Tim Houghton (Conservative MP for East Worthing & Shoreham).

Ms Heasman said:
“The reintroduction of Pension Credit, which is means tested, would alleviate, at a stroke, those who find themselves in this invidious position. If Pension Credit could be reinstated from 60, and add on Pensioner Benefits this would lift those who are genuinely hit the hardest out of extreme poverty.”

nannymoocow Fri 22-Jan-16 15:18:37

I am affected by this. Even though I have over 40 years NI, I still have 3+ years until I receive my SP - I am age 62, but born the wrong end of 1953!

I am not working, have a small pension and rely on my husband to support me, why should it be like this? The goalposts have been moved twice, contract broken and nobody seems to care, least of all the Pensions Minister, who is doing nothing to help us.

I think the WASPI campaign needs to be clear exactly what they mean by transitional arrangements, what are they asking for, is it achievable?

Is there a compromise? To maybe offer affected women, like me, a reduced rate of pension now? It would then be up to me to decide if I sacrifice a percentage of my pension to get an income sooner.

chelseababy Fri 22-Jan-16 15:46:53

I was also born the wrong end of 1953. My new pension age was 62.5 which I had adjusted to. That was bad enough but to increase to 63.5 is a step too far. Pension credit is no help for me, nor to many others who are married/LTAHAW. We have paid in for years on the expectation of a pension at 60, the second increase is too much.
I too am not sure if WASPI would be in favour of a compromise such as free bus passes/winter fuel at 60 for men and women.

sarajames100 Fri 22-Jan-16 15:48:13

I was born in 1956 and have worked since I was 16 with a very small break for childcare. I also like many others have paid enough NI contributions to receive my state pension and always intended to retire at 60. To have the rug pulled from under my feet and to be informed at a very late stage that my state pension would not be paid until I reached 66 and is I feel is total discrimination of women of this age. It seems that every time we get near the goalposts are moved without any explanation or compensation or transitional arrangements.

Barbara1953 Fri 22-Jan-16 17:26:11

Born in 1953. As someone has already mentioned, I had accepted the first change to state pension age, despite not being notified by DWP. However the second change has affected my life considerably and caused huge discrepancies in age that one receives SP for people of similar age eg 42 months difference between time SP received for those born in the same year 1953. That, and the fact that we were not given enough notice of the changes, are my greatest concerns.

Pipsno1pal Fri 22-Jan-16 18:14:32

I totally agree with the points above. I certainly don't feel there was sufficient publicity about how the changes would affect us - I am retiring this year and feel cheated that, having paid contributions all my working life, I now have to wait more than 6 more years for a pension. Surely some interim arrangements could be put in place to mitigate the effect? Not receiving a bus pass, when all my slightly older friends have one, just adds insult to injury. I have less money but am expected to pay out more than them.

Phoebes Fri 22-Jan-16 18:31:25

This seems like legalised robbery to me, not to mention discriminatory. If you were told that you needed to pay a certain number of years' contributions to receive your pension at 60 and you have paid them, then as far as I can see, then you should receive it, no argument! Everyone should be able to retire when they have paid enough contributions, no matter how old you are.

FarNorth Fri 22-Jan-16 19:40:28

If you are in Wales, N Ireland, Scotland or London you can get a bus pass from the age of 60, whether you are getting state pension or not.

Sadiesnan Fri 22-Jan-16 19:44:37

That's so unfair. My husband has a bus pass and uses it all the time, whereas I have to pay!

DragonGran53 Fri 22-Jan-16 22:15:16

I agree with the equalisation of the state pension ages and this was already set to happen however this government decided to further speed up the process and also the move to a state pension age of 66 and this is where the real unfairness lies. We have been given very little notice, of a huge for many of us, financial change in our futures. It has left those of us born at the end of 1953 onwards with a second large increase in age before we can claim our pensions. My cousin was born in June 53, my friend in September 53 and me in December 53 but my cousin will get her state pension 2 years before me and my friend will get her pension 1 year before me and yet there are only a matter of months between us. The pace of change has been enormously unfair. Those in the public sector like doctors and teachers who were within ten years of their pension age were safeguarded against new changes to their pension schemes. Ten years notice seems to be the recommended fair timescale for making pension changes but NOT for our group/cohort of women!! I suggest that the amount of notice given, the increased pace of change especially towards the end of the cohort and overall fairness should be thoroughly debated.