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Pensions Minister 'hoping' to help 1950s-born women hit by retirement age hikes

Published 23/04/2016

Lady Altmann says she is working closely with new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb to see what can be done
Lady Altmann says she is working closely with new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb to see what can be done

Help may be on the way for women who feel they have been cheated out of part of their pensions, a Government minister signalled.

Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann said she was examining ways to deal with an on-going controversy surrounding how women born in the 1950s have been treated.

Many saw their pension age raised twice, some to 66, without receiving adequate warning or information, according to campaigners for compensation.

The women concerned insist some of them have been cheated out of tens of thousands of pounds by the Government changes.

Lady Altmann says she is working closely with new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb to see what can be done.

"I am hoping that we will be able to help, but I can't make any promises. I had some figures worked out on what we might be able to do.

"There is nobody more than me who would like to help, I can assure you," the Minister told BBC Radio Four's Moneybox.

A Commons select committee is looking at solutions such as a llowing women to draw pensions early, but at a lower rate.

The Government actuary told MPs this would initially cost some £2 billion a year, but costs would eventually be recouped.

Lady Altmann delivered a stinging attack when former Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigned last month in protest against Budget measures.

The peer said Mr Duncan Smith had been "silencing" her for months.

Thousands of women born after April 1951 have complained that they were not given proper notice that they would not get a state pension at 60 as their retirement age is gradually raised.

Broadcaster and Labour peer Baroness Bakewell has criticised the lack of Government action on the issue, warning that there were 700,000 women caught "in this brutal pensions trap" who were already in their 60s.

Under the 1995 Pensions Act, the Government decided that the pension ages of both men and women would be equalised by 2020. Previously, women retired at 60, while men retired at 65.

But in 2011 state pension ages were raised at an even faster rate, ensuring some of those born between April 1951 and 1960 will not qualify for a pension until the age of 66 and sparking demands for compensation.

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