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Clause 1 — Equalisation of and increase in pensionable age for men and women

Part of Concessionary Bus Travel (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 18th October 2011.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 7:15 pm, 18th October 2011

Let me address that directly. What is striking as soon as one looks at the evidence on longevity is just how far behind the curve we are. When the male state pension age was set at 65, it was not so much a case of Lord Hutton writing reports on pensions as a case of Len Hutton striding out at the Oval. That was the era that we were talking about. In that almost 100 years, there have been incredible increases in life expectancy, yet the male state pension age will still be 65 for another seven years. That shows how far behind the curve we are.

The views of Lord Turner were cited by the hon. Member for Cumbernauld and by others, with some suggestion that we are breaching the Turner consensus. However, Lord Turner has breached the Turner consensus, if I may say so. He said in a news interview a couple of years ago, and the world has moved on even since then:

“If I was redoing my report I would be more radical, arguing for an even faster increase in the state pension age.”

That is exactly what we are doing, in line with the Turner consensus.