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MPs take evidence on changes to state pension age

Frank FieldMPs have begun taking evidence as part of the next stage of an inquiry into the controversial changes to the state pension age (SPA) for women.

The Work and Pensions Select committee last week published a report criticising the way in which the legislation delaying the SPA from 60 to 66 was communicated to the public.

It reported “alleged failures and shortcomings in the communication of those changes, and the impact both of this and of later access to pensions, especially on women born in the 1950s.”

The committee members, who include SNP member Mhairi Black, have recommended that the government permits women in the specified age group to take a state pension sooner than scheduled in return for lower weekly payments for the duration of their retirements.

The changes were legislated for in 1995 and 2011.

The committee, chaired by Labour MP Frank Field (pictured), will look at the practicalities of introducing these payments for the hundreds of thousands who will otherwise lose income that they expected from retiring at 60.

Mr Field’s committee believes the committee’s proposals would be ‘fiscally neutral’, and therefore attractive to the Treasury, but wants further information.

The Committee will be taking further evidence, including a submission from the Government Actuary, and seeking a debate to explore the options further.

After reporting the committee’s deliberations earlier this month Daily Business was inundated with comments from women affected by the change in the SPA. More than 200 wrote in, stating their dismay over what is widely regarded as a ‘breach of contract’ between themselves as national insurance contributors and the government.

women SPA

The campaign group WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) is leading the lobbying to bring about a change of policy.

However, it is understood that the Department for Work and Pensions sees difficulties in introducing such a scheme and its impact on pension credit expenditure and other means-tested benefits as well as winter fuel payments.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 10 April.

See also:

Committee gives hope to women

MPs’ recommendations

Comment: women’s fury deserves a rethink


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