Government criticised over SPA

Women ‘grotesquely disadvantaged’ over pensions

Frank FieldWomen born in the 1950s have been “grotesquely disadvantaged” by changes to pensions, according to Labour MP Frank Field.

The government deferred the state pension age (SPA) for women in a number of acts of parliament but Mr Field has criticised the way this was handled and communicated.

Women born between April 1951 and 1960 will have to wait for up to six extra years to claim the payout they were expecting from the age of 60.

In the Pensions Act 1995 the SPA was extended from 60 to 65 by 2020. Five years ago it was decided to speed up the process and bring it in between April 2016 and November 2018.  The SPA becomes 66 by October 2020.

Many women who expected to retire at 60 say they have lost around £40,000 that they believe is their entitlement after paying their contributions during their working lives. Some argue the change in the law amounts to a breach of contract by the government.

It has emerged that the government did not inform any of the women affected for 14 years after the initial law was passed in 1995.

More than 220 women have written to Daily Business to voice their anger, many explaining that they were not given enough opportunity to make alternative plans.

Many are represented by the campaign group Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) which held a demonstration outside Parliament on 29 June.

Mr Field chairs the Work and Pensions select committee, which has been investigating the issue and came up with a proposed compromise that would allow women to draw a reduced pension before the SPA kicked in.

But Stephen Crabb, who succeeded Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary, said in May that it was “fiscally impossible” and that there was no “do-able policy solution”.

13 Comments to Women ‘grotesquely disadvantaged’ over pensions

  1. I was born in 1955 I have worked since the age of 14, I did not receive a letter this situation is outrageous and
    it total injustice. We do not have a democracy some women cannot work or retrain, this is said from well established people with government jobs.
    Even in America people can retire on reduced benefits.

  2. I have paid my NI for 44 years. Thank God I have paid up front for my funeral; the last thing i want to do is worry about that. I am proud to be British but being a British citizen is frustrating. I understand than women need to retire the same age as men, but I found out about the changes through a small ad in the local paper. Maybe the Department of Work and Pensions will find an answer and let us 60+ women enjoy a little retirement,

  3. i am disgusted at the retirement age of 66 as at 60 you were still young enough to do the things you didn’t have time to do as you work all your life. When i started work i was 16 years old and i have worked full time all my life.Now i have to wait even longer to retire. This is not fair. I have worked for the nhs as an hca for 16 years and before that I did shop field work and factory work. I have never been out of work. Sixty for women and 65 for men is the right age as this gives more jobs for the young. Theresa Cole

  4. Caroline Harrison
    When I was sixteen I made a written contract if I paid my tax and national insurance I would be looked after. But two years down the line I find I have to wait to get my pension till am sixty five. It’s not me who broke the contract, it’s the government, and I want my money back.

  5. I was also born in 1954. I was a civil servant, but I only receive a small pension. I suffer with multiple joint pains, so decided to retire at 60 as it was becoming impossible to work with the pain. I am very lucky to have a fantastic husband, but I do not want to have to ask my husband for money, that is why I have worked since I was 15. Something needs to be done soon, but I know it won’t be.

  6. I also was born in 1954, I have worked hard since I left school, not even took time off when having my two children. I was advised by my accountant to always pay my NI stamp all the way through my working life which I have done at times. This was hard to do as I am a self employed hairdresser. I have the highest qualifying years but have been told I have still got to pay in until 66 ,when asking why I was told I may wish to claim job seekers allowance, a bereaval benefit or use the NHS! A transitional payment is not ideal but would help take off the pressure .

  7. I am 61 and I lost my job and I am now on JSA.The pressure to find a job is appalling and I live with the threat of getting a sanction every week, as i need to spend 35 hours a week looking for work and that includes the weekend. That’s 5 HOURS every day. I’m now getting stressed and it’s not fair on women born in the 1950s.

  8. Carole’s comment sums it up. I was born Oct 1955 and only found out 2012,3 years before age 60, that I wouldn’t be getting my State Pension at age 60. Only found out because I requested NI contribution info (also have a letter telling me I could stop paying voluntary NI because 30 years’ NI qualified me for full State Pension; we have been targeted again and now are expected to magic up another 5 years’ NI).
    It was 17 years before DWP wrote to me about the 1995 Act and how it would affect my SPA. DWP knew they had done wrong as the Oct 2012 letter covered not just the 2011 Act changes but also the 1995 changes.
    The Pensions and wider financial services industry have also not done their job as not one company writing to me every year advised me that my SP was being postponed by 6 years and that I would be losing approx £40,000 income in those years, and what action I should take to mitigate this.
    In my opinion this is misselling and maladministration by Govt and the financial services industry and we deserve full compensation.

  9. Let’s hope that the new Secretary of State for Pensions Damian Green will listen to us and try to work with us to come to an amicable solution – WHO KNOWS?

  10. Some women discovered their state pension age had changed following the 1995 act because they’d asked for a pension forecast, however thousands of women didn’t realise this. We didn’t have the Internet then, emails Facebook Twitter etc, and the government didn’t write to firms telling them to inform their female staff so it’s no wonder women didn’t know. To then target this same group again to delay our pensions again by a further 18 months is so unfair. For some women taking on caring roles for husbands parents grandchildren etc or their own ill health, choosing to take early retirement or being made redundant aged 58/59 expecting their pension at 60 only to then discover they’d have to wait until aged 66 leaving no time to re-plan is all wrong. Remember the government have protected their own pensions from any changes if they are within 10 years of retirement, yet changed ours (for the second time) with less! One rule for them etc…. I understand the government wanted to reduce the deficit, caused in part, by bailing out the banks, yet bankers still received huge bonuses, and it’s 1950’s women who were targeted to fund the losses. Ordinary women in ordinary jobs, working all our lives on lower pay than men and not allowed until relatively recently to join company pension schemes if part-time. It’s all wrong what they’ve done, thank you Frank Field for supporting and understanding.

  11. I work as a nurse in the NHS. Constant reorganisations of the service have left a demoralised workforce-many are WASPI women. Even though I have a (very) small NHS pension, I still cannot afford to leave, I am often crippled with the joint pains and back problems, caused by years of community nursing-lone working in the days before hoists, or health & safety initiatives! I am almost 63, but still have another two full years before I qualify for my state pension! If I had been informed, in 1995, I would have had the opportunity to bring my work pension up a bit, and certainly would have had the opportunity to pay into a private pension. But still, it was well into 2012, less than a year from my 60th birthday, I found out purely by chance that I would have to wait until 2015. Then in early 2015 whilst browsing the pensions website, I discovered I would have to work a further three years, before eligible! The laughable thing is I can have a B&Q Diamond card, free prescriptions & eye tests, concessionary admission to movies & most other places, AND I qualify for a senior railcard! However, I CANNOT have a free (!) bus pass, as I don’t get a state pension!!! This country is rubbish.

  12. I was born in 1954. I have worked all my life. I have 41 years contributions and have had two dates when I would get my state pension – 61 3/4 and now three days before I am 66. My latest pension statement now tells me I will not get the £180 I was told three years ago but now it will be £125, so I have to work longer and get less. I had no notice to make plans and many ladies are affected. The government must take another look at this because we are not going away and will not let this drop.

  13. Would Mr Crabb like to do my job? Having worked for an extra 3 years 8 mths it has taken its toll. I was set to retire at the age of 60 and had everything set up for this. I had no notice of this increase in the retirement age, therefore I had to get advice and put everything on hold.

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