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State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:33 am on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Mhairi Black Mhairi Black Scottish National Party, Paisley and Renfrewshire South 11:33 am, 7th January 2016

That is why the debate is so important, and we should call on the Government to act. However, because pensions are so complicated, it is important, not just for the benefit of some Members, or people in the Gallery, or those watching at home, to try to explain why those women have found themselves in the position that they are in.

To do that, we must go back to 1995, when the Pensions Act increased the female state pension age from 60 to 65. The purpose of that was to equalise the pension age so that women retired at the same age as men. That is fair enough; it makes sense and I do not think anybody would disagree with that principle. The Turner commission recommended that 15 years’ notice be given to individuals if their pension arrangements were to change to give them adequate time to respond appropriately. The 1995 Act technically did that. The equalisation—the changes—was not to be brought in until 2010, which technically gave women 15 years’ notice. The problem is that nobody knew about that. As late as 2008, fewer than half of women knew that they would be affected. The National Centre for Social Research stated in 2011 that only 43% of women were aware of the planned change.