North East Herts MP Oliver Heald has welcomed the Government’s statement limiting the increase in state pension age for women born in 1953 & 1954. Under the original proposals, 245,000 women were going to see their pension age increase by two years on top of existing increases designed to equalize state pension age for men and women.
About one hundred constituents have written to Oliver about this and he has been campaigning with SAGA and other MPs for the increase to be limited. The Government announcement limits the increase to a maximum of eighteen months.
Commenting, Oliver Heald said, “I know these are difficult economic times, but I did think it was wrong to increase the state pension age so fast for this group of women. I met Ros Altmann of SAGA to discuss her concerns and have had many letters from constituents. I have since contacted the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have spoken to Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Pensions Minister Steve Webb MP, and have pressed the case personally with them all.
“I am pleased that it has been possible to limit the increase and although I would have liked to have gone further, it is still good to see that some progress has been made. “
WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT
Thursday 13th October 2011
THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS
The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb): I shall today table Government amendments to the Pensions Bill 2011, including one that caps the maximum increase in women’s State Pension age at 18 months, relative to the legislated timetable.
The amendment to Clause 1 will ameliorate the increase in State Pension age for around 245,000 women and 240,000 men and reduce total savings from the 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.
The Government will also table three other Amendments to the Pensions Bill 2011. These amendments respond to a recent judgment of the Supreme Court and protect members of pension schemes from unclear or unfair pension saving charges.
The first Amendment clarifies what is meant by a ‘money purchase benefit’, to ensure scheme members are protected appropriately. The second extends an existing reserve power to cap charges for deferred members, which would enable Government to protect all scheme members from high charges, not just active members. The third is a technical Amendment to protect individuals who become automatically enrolled into a personal pension scheme when their employer closes a defined benefit or hybrid scheme to new members.