Equalising the State Pension age was necessary to ensure the State Pension remained sustainable, reflecting our modern economy and society. The Pensions Act 1995 legislated for this to be done gradually after 2010. Following sharp increases in life expectancy projections, the Government had to accelerate this process slightly in the Pensions Act 2011 to secure the sustainability of the system.
I welcome the judgment by the High Court on 3rd October 2019 that changes made to women’s State Pension age were entirely lawful and that they did not discriminate on any grounds, neither in terms of age or sex discrimination.
I am pleased that adjustments were made to mitigate the impact on those worst affected by the State Pension age changes maximum increase was capped at 18 months relative to the 1995 timetable. That represented a £1.1 billion concession, helping those women affected by the transition to a higher State Pension age.
Making further transitional arrangements would not only complicate the system but could also cost taxpayers many billions of pounds, and the potential cost of reversing the 2011 changes has been estimated at £39 billion. I hope that the Government will continue to provide support for pensioners, including the triple-lock and maintaining universal benefits such as the Winter Fuel Payment.
On the issue of the notice given to those affected, the Department for Work and Pensions is clear that all those women affected were written to between January 2012 and November 2013. Those affected by the 1995 changes were also contacted between April 2009 and March 2011.
Last updated October 2019