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State Retirement Pensions

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 12th May 2011.

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Photo of Jamie Reed Jamie Reed Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons his planned changes to the pension age begin in 2016 for women and 2018 for men.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

By April 2016, women's state pension age will have risen to 63 under the timetable legislated in 1995. The UK, like all other EU member states, is under an obligation to remove gender inequalities currently present in state pension ages.

Directive 79/7 prohibits gender discrimination in social security, including state pensions. The directive allows the setting of state pension age to be a limited exception but this should be done in accordance with the principle that member states may only temporarily allow women to retire earlier than men, in order to allow member states to change gradually their pension systems so that equalisation is achieved.

It has therefore been decided to equalise women's state pension age with men's state pension age before the increase to 66 can take place. This is why our proposed changes begin earlier for women than men.

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