Stuart Price, Partner and Actuary at Quantum Advisory in Cardiff, looks into the controversy surrounding the recent increase in women’s State Pension age
November saw the State Pension age for women increase to 65 so it is now the same age as men for the very first time. While there has been criticism of the move, the age rise has been on the cards since 1995 when John Major’s Conservative government decided to equalise it for both men and women. The age at which both genders can collect their pensions will further increase to 66 by October 2020 and 67 in 2026, with a possible increase to 68 by 2039.
The reasons for the hikes have been given as increased life expectancy and gender equality.
So is it fair that women now have to wait as long as men to retire with a State Pension? Some argue that women born in the 1940s and 1950s have been caught in the middle of the changes and did not have time to prepare themselves for the additional wait. They also say they were not given sufficient information, or details they were given came too late.
Women Against State Pension Age Inequality (WASPI) is one such group fighting for women’s rights, alongside former Pensions Minister, Ros Altmann, who has also spoken out about the inequality. Despite requesting an intermediate pension arrangement until they are entitled to the State Pension at 65, and following numerous debates in Parliament, those in power have outright refused to make any changes. The current Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, insists that WASPI’s complaint was investigated but no ‘pension in lieu’ will be provided.
Unfair as it may be, in the current economic climate it is difficult to see where any funds would come from to pay a ‘bridging’ pension to those affected.
Stuart Price, Partner and Actuary