100,000 force state pension age debate

WASPIA petition with over 100,000 signatures has forced a debate in Parliament later this week on the speed of the increase in women’s state pension age.

The debate will be led by the SNP MP Mhairi Black, who also sits on the DWP Select Committee.

Experts calculate concessions on the increase could cost the Government billions of pounds.

A campaign by Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) which has made extensive use of social media has pushed for the debate. WASPI argues that successive governments have not done enough to publicise the increase of women’s state pension age from age 60 to 65, announced in 1995. It argues the further acceleration of state pension age announced in 2011 means born in 1953 and 1954 will see their state pension age rise by up to 18 months with relatively little notice. Around half a million women will see their state pension age rise by an extra year, and 300,000 by an extra 18 months.

Hargreaves Lansdown calculates giving today’s 360,000 women aged 61 an average state pension payment for an extra year would cost £2.2bn.

Hargreaves head of retirement policy Tom McPhail says: “The WASPI group have generated significant momentum in their campaign, as well as sympathy for their predicament. Many outside government argue that some of them have been ill-treated. The twin problems they now face are some are more deserving of compensation than others; and that any concession by the government could quickly run into billions, which is why the government’s current position continues to be that no further concessions will be made. The DWP’s communications around the state pension changes generally have been pretty poor. If they had got that right in the first place, we might not have this problem now.”