Unfair to increase pension age to 66

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From: Julie Bradford

Ridgeway Road, Sheffield S12

I’d like to ask your readers to help with our campaign to highlight the unfairness of proposals contained in the UK Government’s Pensions Bill.

We support the move to bring women’s state pension age in line with men’s at 65 but we are objecting to the speed of the increase for women to 66 by 2020, six years earlier than originally planned. As a result, around 330,000 in Britain women will, at very short notice, have to wait an extra 18 months or longer before claiming their state pension.

I and many other women across the UK feel this is unfair and will hurt hard-working women, many of whom have worked for 40 years or more. Many of us have worked in relatively low-paid jobs or part-time because of caring responsibilities and these changes will mean real hardship, especially to those with poor health.

We are asking MPs to ensure the Pensions Bill is amended to ensure that any increase to the state pension age beyond 65 does not start until at least 2020.

Readers can take action by sending a state pension age campaign postcard to their MP, asking them to stick to the coalition government’s original timetable. To request copies of the campaign postcard or to find out more about the campaign, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/spa.

I’m directly affected by this change to the pension age. After relucantly accepting that we must work until the age of 65 – why didn’t they lower the pension age of men to 60?! – I now find that I’ll have to work almost another two years.

This is because the Government has decided to renege on its earlier proposals and introduce the changes six years earlier. After almost 40 years on the job market, with no career break, I feel I’ve both supported myself and contributed to society as a whole. Why should I now be penalised for having a work ethic?

All this at a time when we’re being asked to make more contributions to our in-house pension schemes and can only expect a lower return. Any flexibility and mobility in the job market is being rapidly eroded.

I need my state pension to supplement my small pension pots from this and previous employment. Without the state pension, I can’t retire. Of course, we have a millionaires’ Cabinet, so they won’t be affected by their proposals. Perhaps they’d think twice if they were.