A 10,000 signature petition launced in conjunction with a group close to Labour will be delivered to Downing Street today calling on the Government to abandon plans to accelerate the increase in the state pension age.
The Government’s pension bill intends to raise the state pension age for women to 65 by 2018 to bring it in line with the SPA of men with both rising to 66 by 2020. Under current legislation left by the last Labour government, it would equalise with men by 2020 with both raising to 66 by 2026.
Labour have been pressing for the acceleration to be slowed saying it leaves 500,000 having to wait an extra year and 33,000 women an extra two years for their state pension without enough time to adapt to the changes.
Bates says: “I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I have worked since I was 15 and since the 1990s I have expected to retire in 2018, when I will be 64. Suddenly I have found out with very little notice, I will have to work until I am 66.”
Pensions minister Steve Webb defended the plans at a Work and Pension select committee hearing in March saying equalising men and women’s state pension age in 2020 would save £10bn less than the Government’s plans.
Shadow pensions minister labour MP Rachel Reeves says: “The Government is unfairly targeting these women with this sudden rise in the state pension age. If these plans become law, they will leave women with little time to prepare for their retirement.”
Webb told the committee: “I do not take this decision lightly but exempting those women would cost more than £300m and if we exempt them, people just outside this group would start asking: ‘what about me?’.”