The Government today has delayed its planned increase in the state pension age, saying that thousands of women will benefit.

The Department for Work and Pensions says a plan to raise the state pension age to 66 in 2020 will be delayed by six months from April 2020 to October 2020, bringing good news for 33,000 women.

The Pensions Bill going through Parliament will be amended from the current timetable to cap the increased wait to a maximum of 18 months, costing the Government £1.1 billion.

Under the Bill in its current form, the state pension age for women will reach 65 by November 2018 and rise to 66 for men and women by April 2020.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says: "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."

Pensions minister Steve Webb says: "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."

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman says the changes are intended to make the transition to the new system "as smooth and fair as possible".

Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, welcomed the announcement, saying: "They have listened to our concerns and we appreciate that it is a significant financial commitment from the Government at a difficult time. This will give a much-needed six-month respite to all the women who would have had to work an extra two years.

"We would have liked the changes being made to have gone further. Having faced uncertainty twice already, these women must not be affected by any further changes to their state pension age again without sufficient notice."

"All of us at Age UK would like to thank the thousands of women that have helped our campaign."