HC Deb 22 February 1980 vol 979 cc592-3W
Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for what reasons women are entitled to retirement pension five years before men; and what additional contributions are made on their behalf.

Mr. Prentice

Pension age for women was reduced from 65 to 60 by the Old Age and Widow's Pension Act 1940.

At that time, there was no provision for a married man with a wife under 65 to receive an increase in his pension for his wife. In many cases, retired married couples had, therefore, to rely on the husband's pension until the wife reached 65. This caused hardship and was one of the factors in the decision to reduce women's pension age to 60.

The Beveridge report of 1942, which led to the introduction of the present scheme in 1948, made no recommendations for a change in the differing pension ages for men and women and successive Governments have not considered it appropriate to make such a change.

No additional contributions are made on behalf of women on account of the difference in pension age.