Monday, 18 March 2013

Are you female, born 1952-53? Read this!

The government is making huge changes to pensions, financial support for those working in low-paid jobs and with disabilities, and benefits for those out of work.

For the last year, I have been warning about the real impact of some of the cuts that are being implemented this year. It has been very difficult to get media attention – and, often, public attention – for these issues. The result is that the government has ploughed on regardless, until the very last minute.

A good example of this has been the ‘bedroom tax’. Last week, we saw last minute changes to try to exclude foster parents, service personnel and some families with disabled children from the scheme. None of these concerns was new. Some of us had been raising them for some time. There will be some horror stories yet to come from the other concerns that the government has failed to address.

So let me use this opportunity to flag up another issue, so that the government will have no excuse that it wasn’t warned.

The Government's latest proposal for a single tier pension will mean that about 430,000 women born between 6 April 1952 and 6 July 1953, will not qualify for the new pension but men of the same age will. That’s about 700 women in every parliamentary constituency. Those women will draw a state pension income of around £1,900 a year (£36.55 a week) less than a man of the same age and, even if they do receive their pension earlier, they are still likely to be worse off

Government Ministers claim that those women will be better off simply because they are allowed to retire earlier. It’s disingenuous. If these women are retired for 20 years they would lose considerably more than the pension received for the earlier retirement.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Make your views known now.