SHADOW Minister Rachel Reeves was quizzed about changes to pension legislation, during a visit to Hyde.
Earlier this year thousands of women in Tameside found they would have to wait even longer to claim their state pensions, as a result of Government changes. And that change was one of the issues raised during the Question and Answer session at Hyde Town Hall on September 9.
Ms Reeves agreed to host the round-table session at the request of Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who says residents are increasingly concerned about pension issues.
Mr Reynolds said: "It has become clear over recent months that people are increasingly concerned about their pensions.
"Government changes mean a significant number of pensioners are feeling the squeeze. And I know many people who have yet to retire are already anxious about their future.
"This event is a valuable opportunity for residents to be able to look at the issues involved and to ask questions."
One of the issues that has caused most concern in recent months has been the Government plans to increase the State Pension Age, initially for women and then for men too.
The Government has accelerated plans to equalise the State Pension Age for women. It will start to rise in 2016 and be equal in 2018. The State Pension Age will then increase to 66 for both men and women by 2020.
Nationally half a million women - born between Oct 1953 and March 1955 - will have their state Pension delayed by a year or more, as a result of the changes.
"It clearly causes significant anxiety when the Government make changes to pensions at such a late stage," said Mr Reynolds.
"In Stalybridge and Hyde alone there are more than 1000 women - aged 56 or 57 - who will now have to wait up to two years longer before they are eligible to claim their State pension. That means that in some cases they will have to significantly change their plans with as little as seven years notice.
"I am clearly not surprised that this has caused such a degree of concern amongst residents."
Published September 19, 2011.