What did you tell us about the state pension?

We asked for your experiences

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111,008 people signed a petition calling on the Government to increase state pensions to £380 a week, and lower retirement age to 60.

A debate on the petition was scheduled in the House of Commons for Monday 12 December 2022 at 4.30pm.

You can watch the debate on YouTube or read the transcript.

Before the debate, we surveyed petitioners to find out their thoughts on the state pension.

We sent the survey to people who had signed petitions calling for the state pension amount to be raised, or the pensionable age lowered.

There were 21,956 responses to the survey.

We asked people who responded to our survey whether they were retired and claiming the state pension or were professionals working with people who are retired.

Throughout this summary we refer to people who told us they were retired and claiming the state pension as ‘pensioners’, and people who told us they were professionals working with people who are retired as ‘professionals’.

Below is a summary of some of the key themes that came out in the responses to our survey

You can read the full summary of responses on our website.

The Cost of Living

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The current rising cost of living has increased financial difficulties for pensioners. Pensioners struggle most with affording bills, food, household goods, transport, and leisure and recreation.

86% of pensioners said that affording energy bills was ‘very difficult’ (52%) or ‘somewhat difficult’ (34%)  

75% of pensioners said that affording leisure and recreation activities was ‘very difficult’ (44%) or ‘somewhat difficult’ (31%).  

75% found affording household goods, including furniture and appliances ‘very difficult’ (47%) or ‘somewhat difficult’ (28%).  

73% of pensioners said that affording transport, including fuel was ‘very difficult’ (35%) or ‘somewhat difficult’ (38%).  

73% of respondents said they found affording food ‘very difficult’ (29%) or ‘somewhat difficult’ (45%).  

Pensioner: "I never thought that I would reach the age of 70 and not be able to put the heating on in November."

Pensioner: "Money doesn’t bring happiness but not having enough to live on causes constant anxiety about not being able to afford the essentials for everyday life. Loneliness and isolation are products of poverty and poverty is the life the current pension provides."

Disabled Pensioners

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Disabled pensioners talked about how an increase in the state pension would mean that they could pay for personal care needs.

Pensioner: "I would be able to heat my house for longer as I suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis. I could afford better quality of food. I do not buy clothes as cannot afford. I wear old cloths. I would love to pay someone to help me in the house as my movement is restricted. My husband has to do extra shifts even though he is getting frail and is 74 years old."

Pensioner: "I would definitely find it easier to cope financially as I have to pay for at least 4 essential medications/vitamins for myself on a regular basis. I also would be able to remain independent with having a car and to maintain it and have at least a long weekend break. I would also try and purchase furniture and eat more healthily."

The Pension Age

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The majority of pensioners who responded told us they would have preferred to retire earlier because they could have enjoyed retirement whilst physically fitter and spent more time with family.

60% of respondents would have liked to retire earlier than their state pension age.

53% of respondents said that retiring after their state pension age had a ‘negative’ or ‘somewhat negative’ impact on their ability to participate in leisure and recreation.

41% of respondents said they continued working after their state retirement age for financial reasons.

Pension Age for Women

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Some respondents expressed concern about the equalisation of the State Pension age for men and women.

Pensioner: "Born in the 1950s I expected to retire at 60. The government kept changing ages and I eventually was able to retire at 66. It would have been beneficial to my mental health to have retired earlier."

Professional: "Women in particular have been unfairly affected because the retirement age has gone from 60 to 67 and for older women this has happened near the end of their working life giving no time to prepare for the financial burden caused by lower pension pots and a lifetime of lower pay for women."

Pensioner: "Born in the 1950s I expected to retire at 60. The government kept changing ages and I eventually was able to retire at 66. It would have been beneficial to my mental health to have retired earlier."


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Professionals working with people who are retired also expressed their concern that pensioners are struggling with the cost of living.

89% of professionals working with pensioners who responded to our survey are aware of pensioners experiencing financial hardship.

They saw pensioners struggle with energy bills the most (96%) followed by food (86%).

(70%) said that they saw pensioners struggle to afford personal care needs, including support for daily tasks such as washing, dressing and preparing meals and drinks.

State Pension Debate

Marsha De Cordova MP opened the debate on the state pension, on Monday 12 December 2022.

During the debate, Marsha said:

"I thank the petitioners—it is because of them that we are here—and the tens of thousands of people who signed the petition.

"No one should ignore pensioner poverty, but we are having this debate because many pensioners are not being supported."

The Government's response

Minister for Pensions, Laura Trott MP, responded to the debate.

"The UK has an ageing population and workforce. The proportion of people aged 50 years and over compared to those aged 16 and over is projected to increase from 42% in 2010 to nearly 50% by 2035. That is nearly 29 million more people. Older workers will bring a wealth of skills and experience to the workplace, and they are vital to the economy.

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"By working for longer, older people have the opportunity to improve their retirement income and benefit from the social engagement that employment brings. The hon. Member for Battersea was absolutely right that we need to support workers in later life, and BEIS is working on exactly that.

"In conclusion, I welcome today’s debate and acknowledge the proposals set out in the e-petition. As I have mentioned, the Government provide wide-ranging measures to support people in retirement. Our recent announcement of plans to apply the triple lock this year demonstrates our commitment to providing a strong foundation of support for pensioners."

Watch the debate

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MPs debated this petition on 12 December 2022. You can watch the full debate below or read the debate transcript on Hansard.

Read the debate pack from the House of Commons Library: E-petition relating to the state pension

Petition debates

Petition debates can be an important part of a campaign. Debates help raise awareness of an issue and can influence decision-making in Government and Parliament.

Petition debates are 'general' debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means MPs will not vote on the state pension at the end of the debate.  

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party committee of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament's petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons, engaging the public directly with the work of the House.

What is a Westminster Hall Debate?

Westminster Hall debates take place in the Grand Committee Room in the House of Commons.

They give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. 

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'.  

How Parliament works: Westminster Hall debates.

Get involved

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