Belfast Telegraph

Delay to pension age rise

Changes to plan revealed to address concerns of women

By Alan Jones

The Government has announced changes to its planned increase in the state pension age, saying that thousands of women will benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions said a plan to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2020 will be delayed by six months from April 2020 to October 2020, affecting 33,000 women.

The Pensions Bill going through Parliament will be amended from the current timetable to cap the increased wait to a maximum of 18 months, costing the Government £1.1bn.

Under the Bill, the state pension age for women will reach 65 by November 2018 and rise to 66 for men and women by April 2020.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "We have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months.

"We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible."

Pensions minister Steve Webb said: "We want to end the uncertainty for women waiting to learn what their state pension age is and we will be communicating with those affected so that they can properly plan for their future."

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said that the changes were intended to make the transition to the new system "as smooth and fair as possible".

Outlining the impact of the changes announced today, he said: "This means that women who face a two-year increase in state pension age will have their wait reduced to a maximum of 18 months.

"The policy of increasing retirement age and equalising retirement age remains, but we have acknowledged the fact that there were some transitional issues with that change and we have been looking for some time at how to deal with those. That is what we are announcing today."

33,000

The number of women affected by decision to delay pension age rise

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