MPs will tomorrow debate the fairness of state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s, after an online petition received more than 100,000 signatures.
The petition, entitled "Make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950’s women", was started on behalf of the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) and points out that some women born in the 1950s have seen the age at reach they become entitled to state pension rise, sometimes with little or no notification.
State pension age was first changed in 1995, when the age was increased for women born between 1950 and 1953. State pension age was altered again in 2011, this time raising the age for both men and women born between 1953 and 1960.
While the petition states that WASPI agrees with making state pension age equal for both men and women, it says that the way in which the changes have been implemented have left many unable to adapt their retirement plans quickly enough to cover the years their state pension payments would be effectively delayed by.
Anne Keen, WASPI co-founder, said ahead of the debate:
WASPI is delighted that the 1 February debate is taking place, in direct response to the number of signatures on our Parliamentary Petition, currently standing at almost 138,000 supporters. This figure indicates the huge strength of feeling among those women aggrieved by the actions of successive governments, as well as those who wish to see justice done.
However, in Department for Work and Pensions' reply to the petition, it says that all women affected were notified about the changes, and that contact information held by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was used to get in touch with those concerned.
The Department's response to the petition continued:
The policy decision to increase women’s State Pension age is designed to remove the inequality between men and women. The cost of prolonging this inequality would be several billions of pounds. Parliament extensively debated the issue and listened to all arguments both for and against the acceleration of the timetable to remove this inequality.
When a petition posted to petition.parliament.uk reaches 10,000 signatures, government will issue a response. When a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the petition is considered for debate before parliament.