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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

The issue of health is certainly important. Almost all the figures that have been quoted through the debate assume that the women whose pension age is being delayed will have no money. If, as the hon. Lady rightly says, they are unable to work because of ill health and the household has no other resources, they will get a significant amount of that money through employment and support allowance and other benefits.

Clearly, there are differences between individual groups and, as the hon. Lady and Hywel Williams pointed out, between different parts of the country, but if we look at England, Wales and Scotland, for example, in terms of life expectancy at 65, in England for men since 1981 life expectancy has increased by seven years. For Wales for men it has increased by seven years, and in Scotland for men it has increased by seven years. For women, each of those figures is six years, respectively. So although there are differences, there have been substantial increases across the board.

Yes, there is big variation. I accept that point, but there have been increases across the board and we cannot say that because they have not happened for every individual in every part of the country and in every social group, we will do nothing. That is what got us into the present mess in the first place.