A new and highly detailed research study by King’s College, London reveals that the lowest paid women born in the 1950s are now substantially worse off because of the government’s decision to raise their pension age from 60 to 66.
The damning findings confirm why the BackTo60 campaign are right to highlight the inequalities and seek to overturn a judicial review in July which refused to provide any compensation for 3.8 million women.
Since the situation is now even worse because of the huge death rate among the elderly it also shows how sensible it will be for the organisation to highlight the issue in two films that will be backed by a crowdfunder. The link to their crowdfunder, which has already raised over £5000 is here.
The academics at King’s College compared the fate of those who had already retired at 60 with those who were having to wait for their pension until they are 65 or 66.
They found the change in pension age widened inequality, increased poverty by six to eight points, caused much more depression and mental health issues and also made people more likely to succomb to additional health problems like diabetes or arthritis.
It was specifically bad for women who had to work longer in low paid jobs often involving manual labour, such as working in care homes.
In their academic language it says the “increases had a negative impact on health: women aged 60–64 years are no longer eligible to collect their pension due to the reform exhibit worse mental and physical health scores (PCSs) and higher prevalence of clinical depression than women of the same age unaffected by the reform.
Moreover, longer extensions of SPA [ State Pension Age] led to higher declines in mental health than shorter extensions. Crucially, the negative health effect of SPA postponement is confined to women from lower-grade routine occupations, and it is largely driven by longer exposure to adverse psychological and physical stressors. As a result, the reform had the undesirable consequence of increasing health inequality by occupational grade, as evidence points to a 12 percentage-point increase in the probability of depressive symptomatology.”
You can read the report, published in Health Economics, here.
It should put a spring in the step of lawyers like Michael Mansfield, who are fighting for BackTo60 in the forthcoming judicial review appeal and its findings ought to worry the Department for Work and Pensions as it exposes the damage they have done. Though making anyone there or in Downing Street remorseful for anything is a tall order.