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Pension age for women compromise

The pensions minister Steve Webb has said that changes in the retirement age will not unfairly hit women in their fifties.

He told the Liberal Democrat conference yesterday that he is prepared to compromise on the changes to the retirement age in order to equalise it for men and women.

The controversy comes as the hurrying in of a universal pensions age of 66 by 2020 would mean a steep rise in retirement age for women, many of whom have been preparing to retire at 60.

The minister told the conference that the government was not prepared to comprise on changes, but said: 'We also recognise that pension age changes need to be fair.'

“So although we stand by our plans to equalise men and women more quickly and to move to age 66 more quickly, I can assure you that we will do all that we can to ease that transition for the particular group of women most affected by the change.

'We’ll make sure that the state pension they do get is calculated in a fairer way. At the moment, pensions are often bad news for women and I’m determined as the minister to change that.

'There’s a range of things that you can do, whether it’s about dates or about other bits of the system, that would ease the financial pressure for those most affected. I won’t pre-empt what we’ll say to Parliament in some weeks’ time but the crucial thing for us is fairness.'

He added: 'We will increase the basic state pension by the highest of the growth in earnings or consumer prices, so in times like this when wage growth is sluggish, we won’t seek to take advantage of that through lower increases.'

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