Opposition party Labour is offering to set up a cross-party commission to find a solution to help women affected by state pension age (SPA) rises, after losing out on a vote in an opposition day debate yesterday.
The motion called for the government to implement methods to ease women's transition into retirement, with 265 votes in favour and 289 against.
This was the fourth time the matter had been raised. It followed a campaign created by Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), who agreed the SPA should be increased to be in line with men's but argued that changes introduced by the UK government were "unfair" with little or no time for affected women to make alternative plans.
WASPI complained that many women were not aware of the changes under the Pensions Act 1995, which set out that the SPA was to rise from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020.
In addition, the Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the process by raising the age to 66 from October 2016. However, the government considered the effects of this Act and reduced the maximum increase of SPA from two years to 18 months.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Owen Smith, shadow work and pensions secretary, suggested six possible solutions that can help mitigate the effects of the situation.
These include: delaying SPA growth until 2020 so that it reached 66 by 2021; placing a cap on the maximum increase from the 2011 Act at 12 months; keeping the qualifying age for pension credit on the previous timetable; allowing women hit by the change to take a reduced pension at an earlier age during the transition; extending the timetable for increasing the overall SPA by 18 months so that it reaches 66 by April 2022; and paying a lower income for a longer period throughout the pensionable age of the women affected.
Owen said: "All those things would involve costs, but they are all ways in which the government could act. What we need from the government is not more carping but the will to get on and do something."
Justin Tomlinson, who responded on behalf of the government, described Owen's six options as "very attractive" but "vague".
He said: "The opposition have set out six options, which are very attractive. How simple life would be if we could simply say yes to all six, or any number of those six options.
"However, the challenge is that not a single one has been costed. There is occasionally vague guesswork on what could pay for something."
The under-secretary of state for disabled people went on to argue that the government considered the effects of the 2011 Act and adopted a concession worth more than £1bn.
Tomlinson concluded in order for the system to function effectively, it had to be "fair, affordable and sustainable".
WASPI said it would continue to fight. In a statement posted on Twitter, they said: "While the vote did not go in our favour, the government is now under more pressure to right this wrong.
"The proposal to form a cross-party group with WASPI input is a major step forward. WASPI welcome and will now actively pursue this."