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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 6:00 pm on 18th October 2011.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 6:00 pm, 18th October 2011

I am delighted to be called to speak in the debate. I welcome amendments 13 and 14, which show that the Government have listened to their people, and I congratulate the Secretary of State and the Pensions Minister on successfully providing some relief to women in their 50s in my constituency. I pay tribute to all those from Gloucester who came to see me about this issue, led by Patsy Toleman, and to those who were encouraged by the campaign led by Age UK to write to me about it.

Like others on both sides of the coalition Government, I have been very active in writing to and making the case personally to the Secretary of State and the Chancellor, and I am sorry that the Opposition have been less than generous in their recognition of the value of capping at 18 months the increase in the wait for their pension for 250,000 women. They should perhaps be reminded that Age UK has said that

“we can’t emphasise enough the great achievement that this change represents as it will cost the Government £1 billion in lost cuts to expenditure.”