State Pension Age: Women

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:55 pm on 30th November 2016.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:55 pm, 30th November 2016

Absolutely, and if my hon. Friend will bear with me for 30 seconds while I make one further point, I will then deal with precisely the point she raises, as I absolutely recognise it as an issue for many of these women. I should point out that the current average age of exit from the labour market for women is 63.1, which is well above the state pension age of 60 that the SNP proposal would take us back to. The number of older women aged 50 to 64 in work in 2016 stands at more than 4 million, which is a record high. That is one reason why the Government have extended the right to request flexible working and why job search requirements for those who are not in employment are adjusted to take account of individual circumstances. One purpose of the Green Paper on work and health that we have just produced is precisely to look at ways to join up much better the health, welfare and employment systems, so that we can deal with health conditions or disabilities that may be particularly prevalent in older women who want to work. We need to make the system much better than it has been in the past at removing those barriers, so that people can work.