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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

On the hon. Lady’s first point, we have of course taken account of the fact that there will be some women, and indeed some men, for whom the changes mean that instead of receiving a retirement pension, they receive jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance or another benefit. To give her an order of magnitude on that, without making allowance for that, the Bill would have saved around £33 billion. Taking account of that, we estimate a saving of around £30 billion, so getting on for 10% of the savings is lost through paying other benefits. That is entirely right and proper. In a way, her observation is backward-looking rather than forward-looking. We are moving to a world in which the idea of early retirement and drawing a pension at 60 years old or below, as in some public service schemes, is simply from another era, and the idea that someone should seek work, particularly if they are able-bodied, into their 60s is going to become entirely normal. The idea that it is somehow offensive to say that someone should look for work in their 60s is an idea from a bygone era; it is not the world that we are moving to.