Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced that women who would have seen a two-year increase to their state pension age will have their wait reduced to 18 months.
The Pensions Bill, which is currently going through parliament, proposes that the state pension age for women will reach 65 in 2018, and then 66 for men and women by 2020.
Critics said that the move would have forced some women to wait an extra two years before they received their pension.
Duncan Smith said: “We have listened to the concerns of those women most affected by the proposed rise in state pension age to 66 and so we will cap the increase to a maximum of 18 months.
“We have always made clear that we would manage any change fairly and ensure any transition is as smooth as possible.”
Steve Webb, pensions minister, said: “We want to end the uncertainty for women waiting to learn what their state pension age is and we will be communicating with those affected so that they can properly plan for their future.”
Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), added: “This takes some of the sting out of what was a very raw deal for many women.
“A quarter of a million women who were set to wait up to two years longer for their pension will now see that wait capped at 18 months.
“This is a useful bit of leeway. People need time to prepare their finances for the transition into retirement, and there is now a clearer ceiling on what to expect.
“But a lot of women in their late 50s are still being told to wait another 18 months, and many will struggle to bridge the gap. The government could have done a bit more to give them extra notice.
“As we all live longer we are going to have to work longer. The state pension age for women should be brought into sync with men’s, but it needs to be done fairly.”
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