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The Pensions Bill 2013-14 would introduce a single-tier State Pension for future pensioners from April 2016. People who have already reached State Pension age (SPA) before it is implemented will continue to receive their State Pension under current rules. In the first ten years after implementation, the single-tier pension is particularly expected to benefit people with low amounts of additional State Pension entitlement, such as the self-employed and women who took time out of the labour market due to caring responsibilities before 2002.

An implementation date of 6 April 2016 would mean the single tier pension would apply to men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953. This means that there is a group of women born between 6 April 1951 and 5 April 1953 who will not be eligible for the single-tier pension, although a man born on the same date may be. The reason for this is that the SPA is still unequal in April 2016.

A number of women born in the early 1950s have expressed concern at what they see as a dual adverse impact of the increase in their SPA under the Pensions Act 1995 and their non-eligibility for the single-tier pension. The Government has responded that women in this cohort will be able to draw their State Pension earlier than the men. Furthermore, it says they have the option of increasing their State Pension entitlement by deferring their claim.

Opposition amendments to the Bill in the House of Commons (in Public Bill Committee and at Report Stage) to require a review of the position of women in this cohort were defeated on division. The issue was debated again in the House of Lords but no amendment was made to the legislation.

This note looks at the different views expressed around the issue that this cohort of women will not be eligible for the single-tier pension. The Government’s proposals for state pension reform are discussed in more detail in Library Standard Note SN 6525 Single-tier State Pension.

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