Women from across the country visited Parliament today to lobby their MPs about proposed changes to the State Pension Age. Rachel asked David Cameron a question during Prime Minister's Questions - watch it here:
Rachel is pictured with Labour MPs and Pension Age campaigners from across the country.
Writing about the event, Rachel said:
Labour supports the equalisation of state the pension age, and increases beyond 65 – we legislated for them. But the acceleration by this government is disproportionate and unfair for the 500,000 women who have to wait more than a year – and it needn’t be.
The cohort of women affected by the change have faced inequality throughout their working lives and have average pension savings of £9,100, compared to £52,800 for men the same age – a six-fold difference. They have taken career breaks to care for family, faced lower pay and conditions throughout their working lives and many who worked part-time were not allowed to save into occupational pension schemes until late on in their working career.
The government says these changes are about increasing longevity. I recognise and welcome people living longer. But we cannot change the retirement age every time an actuary predicts an increase in life expectancy leaving men and women struggling to plan for the future. I have backed an alternative proposal – one that means that no one has to wait more than a year to receive their pension, would affect women and men equally and would give people nine or more years to prepare.
The government are going too far too fast on this, and this is a direct breach of government promises. The Coalition Agreement said that the women’s State Pension Age would not start to rise to 66 before 2020, yet under the Bill’s timetable it starts to do so in 2018, reaching 66 by 2020.