The Government has decided to delay an increase in the state pension age for men and women by six months, allowing hundreds of thousands more people to retire at the age of 65.
Age concession announced
The government had intended to increase state pension age (SPA) to 66 for men and women in April 2020, on top of bringing forward the retirement age of 65 from 2020 to November 2018. Now, the rise to age 66 will occur in October 2020. The process of increasing the age at which women could claim state pension was begun by the previous government and this has been increasing each year since 2010. The timetable for change has now been relaxed, to allow women born between January and September 1954 who would have had to wait longer for their pensions to claim them six months earlier.
Announcing the change in a written statement yesterday, the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, said that the amendment to Pensions Bill would apply to ‘around 245,000 women and 240,000 men and reduce total savings from their increase to 66 by around £1.1 billion (in 2011/12 prices). It maintains our policy to equalise the State Pension age for men and women in 2018 and increase to 66 by 2020.’
Women’s pension plans
The change announced today comes in response to criticism that bringing forward plans to equalise state pension age gave women affected little time to change their pension plans. It was recognised that having to wait longer than expected to be eligible for state pension might cause hardship and inconvenience.
Which? pensions expert, Ian Robinson, said: ‘The Minister’s announcement will be good news for women born in 1954, and benefits men born in that year too. Women tend to have lower private pensions than men, due to career breaks and other factors, so maximising their state pension is particularly important. Before they reach state pension age, they should check their entitlement carefully and consider whether making additional national insurance contributions would be worthwhile.’