State pension age rise confirmed for 2020
Plans to raise the state pension age (SPA) to 66 by 2020 have been confirmed by the government.
The change was first announced in October's Spending Review.
Under a plan already put in place by the previous Labour government, women's state pension age was already starting to rise from 60 to 65 by 2020.
That equalisation will be brought forward to 2018, with the additional year's increase being phased in during the subsequent two years.
Labour had already planned to raise the SPA to 66 by 2026, but that will now be brought forward by six years.
"The legislated timetable for increases in SPA was based on expectations of longevity that have since been revised," said pensions minister Steve Webb.
"In the face of increased life expectancy, making no change to the timetable for the increase in SPA to 66 risks the sustainability of the state pensions system," he added.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) explained that the previous timetable to equalise men and women's SPAs, by 2020, would be accelerated but only from April 2016, rather than immediately.
The effect will be that women's SPA reaches 65 by November 2018 and will then rise in line with men to 66 by April 2020.
The rise to 66 will be achieved by increasing the SPA by three months, every four months.
"This decision means a total of 4.9 million people in Great Britain will have their SPA revised," said the DWP.
"Of these, 4.4 million men and women will have an increase in SPA of a year or less."