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State Pension

Volume 563: debated on Monday 20 May 2013

5. What assessment he has made of the effects of planned changes to the state pension on women born between April 1952 and April 1953. (155863)

We have published a detailed assessment of women in that group, and we have found that an overwhelming majority will receive more pension over their lifetime than under the existing system than would a man born on the same day who receives a single-tier pension.

I thank the Minister for that reply, and for the work that he has done on this matter. Given the fact that the new system and the current one will run concurrently after the implementation of the single-tier pension, can he reassure women in the affected age group that none will lose out in the transition, compared with women who are eligible for the proposed single-tier pension? Would he also consider meeting a group of women from my constituency to discuss the matter?

Obviously, women in the age group we are talking about get a basic state pension based on 30 years, whereas those under single tier will need 35 years and those a few years older need 39 years. Each group has a different system, but the key point is that the new system will cost exactly the same as the system it replaced. We are not putting extra money into new pensions and ignoring today’s pensioners; it is the same amount of money, but spent in a simpler way.

There are 900 of my constituents who are female and were born between 6 April 1951 and 6 April 1953, and who will not receive these new pension entitlements while men of the same age will. Will the Minister take this opportunity to apologise to those 900 women and bring forward proposals to look again at making sure that we have proper equality in the system?

I think that the hon. Gentleman might have written his question before he heard my earlier answer. Comparing those women in his constituency with men born on the same day, as he did, misses the point that those men will have to wait several years longer for their pension. They would far rather be in the position of the women who get their pension at 62 or 63.

The Minister’s response to my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Gwynne) is to say that these women are in a far better position than equivalent men. Let me push him a little on this. How did he come to a calculation suggesting that these women are better off? My understanding is that, under the Government’s plan, 700,000 women currently aged between 60 and 62 will on retirement receive a lower state pension every week than a man of the same age. Will he tell us specifically how much less a week on average these women will receive on retirement than a man of the same age?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, two things matter: how much people get, and when they get it, and he ignores the second thing. A man born on the same day has to wait until he is 65, but the women he is talking about will get a pension at 61, 62 or 63. The fact that they get the pension for years longer more than offsets a lower average receipt.