Monday, 17 March 2014

Women born between 1952 and 1953

Last year, I wrote about the pension issues facing women born between 6 April 1952 and 6 July 1953.[1] Then, foolishly feeling intrepid, and thinking I’d played a small part in getting some improvements, I wrote again to claim a small victory.[2]

I should have known better. No sooner had my blog hit the site than a number of women affected by the changes were busily contacting me to demand that I justify my claim. They posed the sort of questions that would have had Albert Einstein scratching his head and Stephen Hawking turbo-charging his wheelchair.

I had to admit I was flummoxed. I am pretty certain that the changes made last May were for the better – and a small victory flag was justified – but there was no easy consensus as to whether the changes were sufficient to justify the claim that women born between 6 April 1952 and 6 July 1953 were not being disadvantaged.

That’s because it all depends on how you approach the situation, what assumptions are being made – for example, about life expectancy - and who you are being compared with. In fact, the Government thinks that such women are better off under the existing arrangements and also that they will mostly be better off under the new pension arrangements. I’m reminded of the driver who stopped her car to ask for directions and was answered with “Well, if I were going there, I wouldn’t start from here.

Well, we are here. In the last debate, the Minister rebuffed suggestions that the Government report to Parliament on what the actual impact of the changes meant, rather than simply relying on an analysis of what the impact is likely to be.[3]  I expect that in about 50 years’ time, someone will write their PhD thesis on the actual impact of the changes and will still be unable to reach a single conclusion.

So, for now, all I can offer is a comprehensive analysis produced by those very clever people in the House of Commons’ Library.[4]  You can make up your own mind.

Happy reading.