Legislation to raise the state pension age to 66 by April 2020 – six years earlier than previously planned – has cleared the House of Lords.
The Pensions Bill, which will now go to the Commons, equalises the retirement age for men and women at 65 by November 2018, before a phased increase to 66.
Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said when the Bill was given a second reading earlier this year that the move was necessary because life expectancy had risen from 81 in 1981 to more than 86 today.
"With every new demographic forecast, there comes a continuing increase in life expectancy," he said.
"The Office for Budget Responsibility projected that the impact of an ageing society could potentially wipe out any progress on deficit reduction."
Labour and crossbench moves at earlier stages to slow down the speed at which the equalisation of the pension age occurred were defeated and the Bill was given a third reading today without further votes.
Lord McKenzie of Luton, Labour's work and pensions spokesman in the Lords, has described the legislation as "a clear breach of the coalition agreement" in the speed with which it was bringing about the equalisation.
Copyright © Press Association 2011
What's your view on the Pensions Bill? Do you support the changes? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"No, I do not support the Pensions Bill. Unfortunately I was born in 1954 – I had no maternity leave when I had my children – left work and lived on one income. No private pension scheme either. Great news - NOT" – Name and address withheld
"Definitely. We are all living longer and are fit enough to have the retirement age limit scrapped so this makes sense. As long as there is a safety net for those who, for no fault of their own, are unable to work to that age" – Name and address withheld
"No. Will never support any changes ratified by an unelected body of people such as we have in the House of Lords" – Chrisi Burns, Woodview Medical Centre