The Coalition Government’s decision to speed up the increase in the women’s state pension age has had a devastating impact on many women who were born in the 1950s, some of whom now face real hardship.
I support the equalisation of the state pension age. However, changes to the state pension age should be carefully implemented so that those who are affected are given adequate notice of the changes and have enough time to plan for the future. The decision to accelerate the rise in women’s state pension age has meant that women born in the 1950s did not have enough notice of changes and hadn’t planned for their new circumstances. This has been further exacerbated by the Government’s failure to communicate the changes.
Under Labour’s plan, Pension Credit would be extended to those who were due to retire before the chaotic pension age increase brought in by the Conservative-led Coalition Government. This would alleviate the worst of the impact for the most vulnerable women and restore some of the dignity many feel they have lost.
In 2011 the then Work and Pensions Secretary committed to looking at transitional provisions to help the women who have been hit hardest by the changes but he has failed to do so. There have been a number of Parliamentary debates on this issue in recent months, including a Westminster Hall debate in November 2016, where the Shadow Frontbench urged the Government to take appropriate action.
Given the mishandling of the raising of the pension age for women born in the 1950s, which has already caused financial worries for 2.6 million women across the country, we need to take action. Labour recently announced plans to help end the plight of women affected, having repeatedly called on the Government to deliver on its promise to look at transitional arrangements for the 1950s women but they failed to respond. The Labour Party’s 2017 Manifesto says:
‘Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed without fair notification. These women deserve both recognition for the injustice they have suffered and some kind of compensation for their losses.
Alongside our commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.
This must never happen again. Labour will legislate so that accrued rights to the basic state pension cannot be changed, but future benefits can. The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. We will commission a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a retirement policy...."
Labour Candidate for Leeds Central