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Clause 1 — Equalisation of and increase in pensionable age for men and women

Part of Concessionary Bus Travel (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 18th October 2011.

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Photo of Gregg McClymont Gregg McClymont Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 5:00 pm, 18th October 2011

The hon. Lady makes a good point. That is an issue that my right hon. Friend Malcolm Wicks often raises: averages can hide great disparities in social class as well as gender. That is a very important issue and I am sure the Minister is well aware of it.

The principle of reasonable notice is broken by the Bill. The Government’s concessions do not meet the fair and proper notice test, which is a principle of crucial importance. The second test we set for the Government was the proportionality test. They are unfairly and disproportionately singling out women aged 57 and 58 for harsher treatment. I do not suggest that they have singled them out deliberately—of course not—but I do say that they are not doing enough to compensate those women who have lost out in a birth date lottery that is not of their own making. These women cannot, on the whole, afford the burden that the Government are placing on them, and they have certainly done nothing to deserve it. The Government should not make those women carry the heaviest burden of rising longevity—that is unfair and unjust. Some 500,000 women will still have to wait between a year and 18 months longer than they would have to reach state pension age. As I have previously stated, 330,000 women—one third of a million—will have to wait exactly 18 months longer, with the psychological and financial burdens that imposes.