State pension hope dashed for many women

It was a good try. Labour peer Lord McKenzie attempted to stall the government's plan to hike the state pension age. The issue is particularly relevant for women born in the mid 1950s who face a longer working life, with less notice to save for retirement. Although the government has agreed to delay the rise of the state pension age to 66 by six months, McKenzie had hoped for an 18-month extension on top of this pull-back.

Extra wait

McKenzie's amendment would push the state pension age increases back out to 2022, but this is likely to be dashed by the House of Lords shortly - probably on Monday.

Originally, many hundreds of thousands of women faced an extra two-year wait for their state pension, though the government has already wound it back to an 18 month delay.

"Ultimately, the government made a modest concession to the timetable, originally decreed that state pension age would hit 66 in April 2020," says Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, "but after a considerable amount of lobbying, it conceded a slowdown in the timetable, back to October 2020."

Equality or special treatment?

But behind this is a bigger story. Between 2010 and 2020, many women will see their retirement age shifted by six years, to 66. Men, on the other hand, will have only experienced a 12-month extension to when they can claim the state pension.

This may mean parity or 'fairness', but many women care for members of their family, making it difficult to pay into a private or state-sponsored pension for their old age - which has recently become less financially secure.

Do women, then, deserve special preferential treatment here? Or should they simply be given what many have striven for over many decades - complete equality.
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