MP’s have put inequality between men and women at the centre of their debate as they call for the planned rises to increase the State Pension Age for women to be slowed down or readdressed in order to give women who don’t have much time before they retire to adjust to the anticipated changes.
The debate took place in the House of Commons and was led by the Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black. The debate has led to more calls for the Government to review the current policy around State Pension Age rises.
Since 2010, the age for women’s State Pension has risen from 60 to 65 to become equal with men, with plans for it to increase to 66 by 2020. The plans to equalise the state pension age have been in place since 1995 but were pushed into motion in 2010. However, some women have said that they weren’t informed of the planned changes in 1995. In particular, a group of women who were born in the 1950’s will face a dramatic difference in their planned age to retire.
MP Black said women had already faced a ‘lifetime’ of gender inequality in times of lower pay, as well as giving up work to look after children. She added that they were now facing ‘harsh’ rises in the State Pension Age.
She said women are getting ‘short changed’ just because they are female, adding that she did not believe the Government had to set out to purposely cause problems for pensioners. MP Black said the Government should now review its pensions policy or be condemned for it’s ‘vindictive’ actions towards those due to retire.
She found support from Conservative MP Tim Loughton who said that gender inequality most affected women in their 60s. He said that means-testing should be reintroduced to the state pension in order to help the pensioners who are struggling financially.
From April 2016, a new ‘flat rate’ pension scheme will be brought in. It will get rid of the savings element of the pension credit, which is used as a top up for the state pension claimants.
In order to purchase an annuity of £6,000 per year you would need to have £100,000. Mr. Loughton said that for people with lower wages, the National Insurance contributions is the only form of pension they can afford. 10 years is not enough time to begin saving into a private pension to add to the state pension. Reintroducing state pensions for those over aged 60 which is means tested would help those who are hit hardest by the increase of state pension ages.
Pension Credit is a benefit which relates to income. It’s made up of two elements- the guaranteed element and the savings element. The savings element is an extra benefit for people who have saved some money towards their retirement, for example paying into a pension fund. Savings credit can pay £14.82 a week for single people or £17.43 for couples, on top of their existing pension.
To find out more about pension credit, call the pension credit contact number.