What a difference a day makes!
A woman who turns 60 on 6th April 2010 or later will get a full state pension with just 30 years' National Insurance contributions instead of the 39 (44 for men) needed now. That’s good news for carers and women who have had breaks from full-time work.
But a woman who turns 60 on 5th April 2010 or earlier with the same 30 years National Insurance contributions will get a state pension of £67.23 – losing more than £20 a week. That reduced pension will cost her on average about £25,000 over the rest of her life.
It’s unfair and unnecessary. There is a better way.
The Government could bridge this fairness gap by phasing in the pension changes. So far, they’ve refused to do this. Yet it’s women of Gordon Brown’s generation who are losing out.
UPDATE January 2008: The Government has rejected House of Lords' proposals to allow women to buy extra pension 'years' to catch up. This mean u-turn has been widely-condemned.
Islington campaigner Bridget Fox says, "Please support the campaign to bring fairer pensions to more women."
Why do women need changes to the system?
Too many women face poverty because our pensions system is unfair. Women are more likely to take time out of paid work to raise children or care for other relatives. So we build up fewer pension contributions, even though we tend to live longer than men. Women need fairer pensions.
What's the Lib Dem alternative?
Liberal Democrats want to see pensions based on citizenship not just contributions. That means that women (and men) who spend time as carers won't lose out. We have already set out detailed pensions proposals, including boosting the basic state pension by £25 a week. We will restore the pensions-earnings link, starting with the over-75s. Liberal Democrats would also fund personal care for the elderly and abolish the unfair council tax. At the last General Election, I campaigned for fairer pensions - and came within 500 votes of beating Labour.
What's happening now?
The Government is beginning to listen to our campaign. On 6th April 2010, the pensions system will change so that women who reach 60 on April 6 2010 or later will get a full state pension with just 30 years' National Insurance contributions instead of the 39 needed now. It sounds like good news. But there's a problem. Normally governments phase in pension changes. Gordon Brown is not phasing this change in. So a woman who turns 60 before 6th April 2010 won't get a penny extra. That's why I'm campaigning for a fairer deal.
Women who turn 60 on 6 April 2010 or later will benefit from increased pension entitlements. That’s good news. But the Government has refused to phase this in. So women who turn 60 before 6 April 2010 – even a day early – will lose out more than £20 a week. We believe that’s unfair and unnecessary.
We the undersigned call on the Government to phase in this change, and bring fairer pensions to more women.