Increasing the state pension age

9 February 2017
What was claimed

2.6 million WASPI women are affected by the changes to the state pension age.

Our verdict

Correct. 2.6 million women (and 2.3 million men) are affected by the changes made in 2011. Other women are affected by earlier changes.

What was claimed

The government committed over £1 billion to reduce the impact of changes and limit them to 18 months.

Our verdict

Correct. The government limited the increase in the state pension age from the new 2011 timetable so that no-one would face an increase of more than 18 months. That reduced the savings it would otherwise have made by £1.1 billion. Overall, changes since 1995 mean some women will retire three to six years later planned.

“This injustice [changes to the state pension retirement age] has short changed 2.6 million WASPI women and brings shame to this government.”

Chris Elmore MP, 1 February 2017

“We did commit over £1 billion to lessen the impact on those worst affected so no-one will see their pension age change by more than 18 months. But there is a wider point here, we do have to be realistic in looking at pension ages about the fact that people are living longer...”

Theresa May, 1 February 2017

The move to make the state pension age equal for men and women, and increase it to 66 by 2020, means women born in the 1950s onwards are retiring later than they expected.

A law in 2011 brought forward the year when the state pension would increase to 66, from 2026 to 2020. Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) are a group campaigning for a ‘bridging’ pension for women born in the 1950s affected by the changes and the 2011 timetable.

2.6 million women are affected by the 2011 changes. The government did slow down its proposed timetable so no-one would face new changes of more than 18 months, reducing proposed savings by £1.1 billion.

The state pension age was originally set at 65 years old for men, and 60 years for women. In 1995 a new law increased women’s state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. This meant that women born in the 1950s (and after) would reach retirement age later than they had planned. Research has shown many women weren’t aware they were affected.

A 2007 law then added an increase to the equal state pension age from 66 to 68, to be brought in between 2024 and 2046.

In 2011 the timetable was sped up, so state pension ages would be equal at 65 by 2018, and rise to 66 for everyone by 2020. The new changes affect around 5 million people born between 1953 and 1960 in Great Britain, 2.6 million women and 2.3 million men. Women born between 1950 and 1953 were affected by the 1995 law and reached retirement age by March last year.

Together the changes delay women’s state pension age between three and six years compared to retiring at 60.

Further changes made in 2014 have now brought forward when the equal pension age will increase to 67, from 2034-2036 to 2026-2028. The first version of the 2011 law would have delayed some women's pension by two more years. The government shortened that to a maximum of 18 months, reducing the savings from the changes by £1.1 billion.

Some people, such as the WASPI campaigners, don’t think that went far enough.

The UK does have an aging population, and despite these changes the number of working-age people per pensioner is expected to fall.

You can check your state pension age online.

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