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Pension Age Qualification (Women)

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 1st December 2015.

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Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim 11:30 am, 1st December 2015

What steps he is taking to assist women born between 1953 and 1955 affected by recent changes in pension age qualification.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

As we remove gender inequality, women born between 1953 and 1955 will receive their state pension at the same age as men, or earlier. The Government have written to all those affected by increases to the state pension age and have acted to ease the timetable, at the cost of £1 billion, ensuring that 81% of all women affected see a rise of a year or less under the Pensions Act 2011. As the Chancellor announced last week, the basic state pension will rise next year by £3.35 to £119.30 a week—the largest real-terms increase for 15 years.

Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim

It is very good to see the pension going up. However, research by the Pensions Policy Institute and Age UK shows that a third of women in work are ineligible for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension, leaving them at risk of not having a decent income later in life. What research has the Minister or the Department for Work and Pensions carried out in order to understand what difficulties they will have in future?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

This continues a process that has been going on since the mid-90s to equalise the state pension age and the process begun in 2011 to increase the state pension to make sure that it can be more affordable overall in terms of its ability to meet our commitments under the triple lock and the big increase I mentioned earlier. I did not hear all of the hon. Gentleman’s question precisely, but I think he mentioned Age UK. The charity director of Age UK said that this big concession is

“a significant financial commitment from the Government at a difficult time. This will give a much needed 6 month respite to all the women who would have had to work an extra two years.”