With the pension age set to rise to 66 by 2020, a committee of MPs have been told inadequate warning was given to women to plan for the shortfall in income. An estimated half-a-million women are affected by the change. The 1995 pensions act brought into effect changes to equalise men and women’s pensions with the start of pensions for both now planned for 66 by 2020.
The blow to those affected comes on the back of, what will have been for many, a life-time of pay inequality that still exists today. Although women in general life longer, and can expect to see 4 more years of pension than their equivalent male counterparts; fewer have adequate private savings and pension investments; often owing to many years of a massive gender-pay gap and time taken out of work to raise families.
Increasing pressure is being put onto the DWP to introduce interim measures, but this is being met with stern reluctance at a time when public spending is set to be slashed again in the up-and-coming Spring budget. Adding to anger, particularly in Scotland, is the governments absolute refusal to back down on proposed renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon system at an estimated cost of £167Bn.
Proposed interim measures include early access to pension funds (at a detriment to the total fund) or a cash injection into the pension system to offset the 6 year gap and fully fund the pension. Despite the committee outcome, led by Labour, it is unlikely the government are willing to back down.