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Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his reasons for proposing a staggered rise in state pension age. (90432)

The timetable as proposed is designed to broadly keep pace with the projected rises in average life expectancy and so maintain at a roughly constant level the same proportion of adult life spent in receipt of the state pension following the proposed increase in state pension age as set out in the Pensions White Paper Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pensions System.

Our intention is that each increase will be implemented gradually over a two-year period. The first increase from 65 to 66 will be phased in between April 2024 and April 2026; the increases from 66 to 67 and from 67 to 68 will be implemented in the same way, starting from April 2034 and April 2044 respectively.

Increasing state pension age with no transitional period would mean that two people born a day apart could have a year between their respective state pension ages, while a more extended transition period would increase complexity. We consider that our proposal, which follows a similar model as will apply to the increases in state pension age for women between 2010 and 2020 under the Pensions Act 1995, strikes a reasonable balance between fairness and simplicity.