We are consulting on two options for reform to make the state pension system simpler and fairer for those—including many women—who have historically experienced poor pension outcomes. We will publish a full assessment of impacts when more detailed proposals for reform are published.
We are spending the budget that was already planned for state pension expenditure in what we consider to be a better way. There will be a simpler system, which will reward saving and be fairer to women in particular. Some of those with the highest earnings who would have received higher earnings-related pensions will ultimately receive smaller pensions than they would have otherwise, but we think that the system will be fairer and simpler.
I too have received correspondence from several constituents about the proposed changes in the state retirement age. What assurances can the Minister give that their concerns will be listened to, and that the Government will take all possible steps to ensure that women are not disadvantaged?
We are already listening to representations. Although more rapid equalisation inevitably affects women more than men, it affects men as well through the impact on the state pension credit age. However, I can encourage the hon. Gentleman by telling him that the new single state pension, if we proceed with it, will be of particular benefit to women, including those affected by the change in the state pension age.
The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the question of fairness. However, people are living longer, and in a state pension system in which no money is put aside to pay for pensions, someone must find that money. We do not believe that it would be fair for all the cost to fall on today’s workers and today’s firms. There is a balance to be struck.