Successive Governments have made necessary decisions to equalise and increase the State Pension age. State Pension age reform has focused on maintaining the right balance between sustainability of State Pension, equality and fairness between generations in the face of demographic change.
Even after equalising women’s State Pension age with men’s, women will spend on average around 2 years more in receipt of their state pension because of their longer life expectancy. If we had not equalised State Pension age, women would be expected to spend on average over 40 per cent of their adult lives in retirement.
During the passage of the 2011 Act, the Government listened to the concerns of those affected and this is why we introduced a concession worth over £1 billion in order to limit the impact on those women who would be most affected by the changes. This concession reduced the proposed increase in State Pension age for over 450,000 men and women, and means that no woman will see her pension age change by more than 18 months, relative to the 1995 Act timetable.
For people who simply can’t work, our welfare system will continue to provide a strong safety net, as it does for people of all ages now. Any women experiencing hardship, including problems such as unemployment, disability, and coping with caring responsibilities, can already claim support from the welfare system. The Government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and spends over £50 billion a year on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.
The new State Pension is more generous for many women. Over three million women stand to gain an average of £550 extra per year by 2030 as a result of recent State Pension reforms.