He hoodwinked pensioners into voting for him again, but he's still withholding their pensions.

He hoodwinked pensioners into voting for him again, but he’s still withholding their pensions.

Millions of women had their state pension age delayed – in some cases twice and by up to six years in total – without proper notice.
That is the only conclusion to be drawn from the details of how they were informed of the changes which has now been obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions. It reveals

  • The Government did not write to any woman affected by the rise in pension ages for nearly 14 years after the law was passed in 1995.
  • More than one million women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1953 were told at age 58 or 59 that their pension age was rising from 60, in some cases to 63
  • More than half a million women born 6 April 1953 to 5 April 1955 were told between the ages of 57 and nearly 59 that their state pension age would be rising to between 63 and 66.
  • Some women were told at just 57½ that their pension age would rise from 60 to 66.
  • Women were given five years less notice than men about the rise in pension age to 66
  • The Government now says that in future anyone affected by a rise in state pension age must have ten years’ notice. None of these women had that much notice nor did the men affected by the change.


This Blog has been asked to remind readers that there is a petition, “Make fair transitional state pension arrangements for 1950’s women” with more than 50,000 signatures.

The government has responded to this petition, and it may be worth noting what was said:

“Both the 1995 and 2011 changes followed on from public calls for evidence. The Government has notified the women affected by the State Pension age changes. Following the 2011 changes, DWP wrote to all those directly affected to inform them of the change to their State Pension age – using the address details recorded by HMRC at the time. Mailing to these individuals, due to reach State Pension age between 2016 and 2026, was completed between January 2012 and November 2013, subject to the accuracy of their address details with HMRC. Letters to women with a State Pension age determined by the 1995 timetable (born between 6th April 1950 and 5th April 1953) were sent between April 2009 and March 2011. The DWP also has information on State Pension age changes and who they affect on This includes State Pension age timetables, impact assessments (including an impact assessment for the 2011 Pensions Act) and a State Pension age calculator. In addition, the State Pension age equalisation changes were built into the State Pension statement IT system; introduced in 2001. Therefore, statements produced on request using this system would have included women’s new State Pension ages as determined by the 1995 Pensions Act.

“The Government will not be revisiting the State Pension age arrangements for women affected by the 1995 or 2011 Acts. The Government carried out extensive analysis of the impacts of bringing forward the rise to 66 when legislating for the change (impact assessment available at The decision to amend the timetable originally set out in the bill, to cap the maximum increase at 18 months rather than 2 years, was informed by this analysis.

“All women affected by faster equalisation will reach State Pension age after the introduction of the new State Pension. The new State Pension will be more generous for many women who have historically done poorly under the current, two-tier system – largely as a result of lower average earnings and part-time working. Around 650,000 women reaching State Pension age in the first ten years will receive an average of £8 per week (in 2014/15 earnings terms) more due to the new State Pension valuation of their National Insurance record.

“Regular consideration of State Pension age is necessary to ensure the pensions system remains sustainable as life expectancy grows. The 2014 Act provides for a 6-yearly review, to take into account up-to-date life expectancy data and the findings of an independently-led review. The first review will conclude by May 2017 and will consider, amongst a number of other factors, the impact of State Pension age change on women.

“The policy decision to increase women’s State Pension age is designed to remove the inequality between men and women. The cost of prolonging this inequality would be several billions of pounds. Parliament extensively debated the issue and listened to all arguments both for and against the acceleration of the timetable to remove this inequality. The decision was approved by Parliament in 2011 and there is no new evidence to consider.”

The last paragraph is very interesting. It states that the intention is to remove inequality – but the very next sentence shows that it is in fact about cost.

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  1. Florence

    I saw somewhere recently that the forward projections for ESA numbers / budgets showed an increase, without any commentary from the DWP to indicate why. My best guess is that they know many (like me*) will be parked on ESA, with our so-called “better” pensions getting further away. I’m expecting the May 2017 review to push the age up to 70, for all. It’s all about the money of course, as ESA is now under attack, the support group will be next, and it’s still cheaper than a pension for the DWP. And of course it affects the poorest most, as anyone with a private pension will draw on that rather than be subject to DWP WCA testing, and repeat testing, and losing DLA, after more PIP testing.

    (* I am among those worse affected by these changes and like many already suffering from age-related degenerative diseases, and unable to work. I have paid in nearly 50 years of contributions, including the vanished SERPS. I was forced out of work later in my working life by disability discrimination.)

    Now we have to contend with the extended years of purgatory of DWP / ESA bullying (and at the hands of our fellow citizens following their lead) for our remaining time. Care packages cuts and NHS rationing will hasten our demise. How many among us will be just another statistic in next years Excess Winter Deaths? Are we that “unexplained” jump in death rates among the younger groups of the 150% leap last year?

    Older women have always been invisible, we are doubly so now with the lack of interest by and large about our pensions (not by you Mike, bless you). I feel like those old Donkeys on the TV ads for Sanctuaries, with crumbling joints and failing organs after working too damn hard for decades, but no-one is shaking the metaphorical tin for us at the end of our working lives. Yes, even with that face stuff advertised by Helen Mirren, older & disabled women are less telegenic than donkeys.

    These are real barriers for us – not being “allowed” to work by employers as disabled or as older women, and not being “allowed” to retire by the government, being left in DWP Purgatory and told we are scroungers.

  2. Dez

    Yes it was a major injustice to those that were robbed of their planned future retirement plans…..The rapid acceleration of this cunning plan was the most unjust part of the rollout driven more by greed and saving dosh. But hey if this went before Parliament in 2011 with those responsible for acting on behalf of their electorate giving it the green light then it’s a done deal or they were asleep at the wheel or no discussions with regard to impact was considered necessary.. As for the alleged communication of said cunning plan they can say what they like no one collectively can challenge that statement. From questions asked of those effected no communication was ever directly received, despite having pernament addresses, but the way todays Government works it would not matter a jot….this is how it’s going to be in the new UK.

  3. Ree

    I come into this category and believe you me no one contacted me to inform me of the changes despite having all my details on file. Then when almost three years later I got to the age I could retire I contacted DWP myself having used their own online calculators to establish entitlement and being informed I qualified for maximum rate was told I was only getting some entitlement when I challenged fact I was covered by having claimed family allowance for some years as informed on their own site I eas told I had to make an app.ication for this. 3 months later still waiting still not getting maximum pension done not only once by age change but 2nd time by them breaching own protocols

  4. Gill Thornton

    I got my letter about 2 months ago – just before my 59th birthday! I was quite shocked to discover I cannot retire for another 8 years, but planned to work longer anyway. But if it goes up to 70 what are the chances of getting a job at age 68 which is when the programme I am working for comes to an end.

  5. val.b

    Mike – Thanks for highlighting this issue.
    This Bill was railroaded through Parliament, and the last minute reprieve of 6 months didn’t really help the worst affected, and made no difference at all to those born at the end of 1953. I remember back then, an economist appearing on a BBC news programme, quite happy to write off 500,000 women as if they didn’t exist, just to satisfy his neat little argument.
    In reality, a 6-year difference in pension age for women born only 4 years apart, and a 3-year difference in pension age for women born one year apart is a ludicrous speed of increase.
    At Committee Stage, had the Liberal Democrats not voted as a coalition, the Bill would not have gone through. So very annoying, as has been the case with practically all other legislation passed during those 5 years.
    Florence, your comment sums it up perfectly. I couldn’t agree more.

    1. Florence

      Thank you. Sometimes you have to live it to know it! 500,000 women have been treated dreadfully and they get away with it because of the institutionalised and societal ageism that is uniquely against women. I remember Barbara Castle and her burning ambition to make every woman count, and to stop the dreadful poverty that was routine for older women. Not only have the clocks been turned back, the Labour Party Blairites have produced a generation of women politicians who are our enemies too, such as Cooper, Reeves and the neolibs.

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