Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:50 am on 7th January 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 11:50 am, 7th January 2016

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why fairness needs to be applied to everybody, and in this case, there is a cohort of women who are simply not being treated fairly. Our state pension system is funded on the contributory principle. This is not a state benefit for which no prior commitment is involved, yet this group of women who have been paying national insurance contributions over many years in good faith and who have fulfilled their end of the deal face being short-changed retrospectively.

We need to bear in mind many other factors. Fewer than one in four women who qualify for the new state pension in 2016-17 will get the full amount. Right up to 2054, fewer women than men will qualify for the full standard pension. Women are significantly more likely than men to work part time, and to do so for longer periods throughout their working lives, largely driven by caring roles, as hon. Members have mentioned. They therefore tend to be under-pensioned.

I welcome the fact that the new single-tier pension will recognise periods of time spent caring, which will help in the future, and I acknowledge that the Government have made progress on shrinking the gender pay gap—an issue on which consultation is in place. Progress has been made with more women in work than ever before. We have seen lots of generous reforms on entitlement to free child care, the national living wage and so forth, but all those are far too late for a generation of women who relied on work without many of the benefits that we now take for granted, while bringing up their families and discharging their caring responsibilities. Because of the number of women who are going out to work, many others have caring responsibilities for grandchildren as well as having to hold down part-time jobs.