Older women can't have their pension cake and eat it

Older women on a bench The introduction of the flat-rate state pension may have been heralded as a government triumph but it's upsetting a lot of women up and down the country.

The £144-a-week state pension was due to come in to force in 2017 but it has been brought forward a year to 2016 to try and placate a swathe of women approaching their 60th birthday who protested because they've had to endure two changes to their state pension age and would still have missed out on the increased state pension if it was brought in in 2017.

I can see their point; it's not fun to be told you have to work for longer and see your state pension age and retirement edge further away.

By bringing the flat-rate pension in a year earlier 85,000 women receive the more generous payment of £144-a-week but the fate of tens of thousand of women who were born slightly earlier and will also just miss out on the deadline for the new scheme.

The point is there is always going to be some that miss out, that's the nature of the cliff-edge system that the government has put in place. Part of me can't help but feel that the women affected are arguing to have it both ways. They may have seen their pension age increase but many are still retiring before 65 but these pre-65 retirement dates mean they don't receive the £144-a-week pension.

I'm not sure what pension minister Steve Webb is supposed to do. If he had told the women they would have to work to 65 then he would have been in the wrong but he is still in the wrong because he has imposed a cut off for the £144-a-week pension.

These women cannot have their cake and eat it. Yes, it is painful if you just miss out on a beneficial change but unless you want to work for longer, then you have to accept the state pension under the old scheme.

Unfortunately many of the babyboomer generation feel a sense of entitlement to have their pension cake and eat it. Those reaching retirement need to understand that the system does not work for them alone, it has to balance the needs and, importantly, costs that it places on other parts of society.

The new state pension plan will put women's pensions on an equal footing with men's but it has to be expected that there will be some bumps in the road along the way.
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