The approach of Labour, Conservative and the Coalition governments for the last 24 years since the 1995 pensions Act is the same. This Government’s position on the changes to State Pension age (SPa) remains clear and consistent.
The legislative changes to women’s SPa address the longstanding inequalities that had previously existed between men and women’s SPa. If State Pension age had not been equalised, women would be spending over 40 per cent of their adult life in retirement and this proportion would be continuing to increase. Even after equalising women's State Pension age with men's, women will spend on average around two years more in receipt of their State Pension because of their longer life expectancy.
The overall trend in the percentage of pensioners living in poverty is a dramatic fall over several decades. We are forecast to spend over £120 billion on benefits for pensioners, including £99 billion on the State Pension (2019/2020). In 2019/20 we are spending £3.1 billion to increase benefit and pension rates for pensioners.
The welfare system continues to provide a safety-net for those experiencing hardship, including that caused by unemployment, disability, and coping with caring responsibilities which affect those unable to work and therefore most in need in the run up to their State Pension age. Women who have had their State Pension age increased have the same eligibility to working age in-work, out-of-work and disability benefits as a man with the same date of birth.
This matter has been comprehensively debated on many occasions in Parliament, and any amendment to the current legislation which creates a new inequality between men and women would be highly dubious as a matter of law. The Government does not respond to individual EDMs.