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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 have not heard specifically from any of those who originally lobbied me on this issue. No doubt they will be hearing this debate, and I think that they will recognise, as all Members should do, that the Government cannot simply brush aside the issue of expenditure as those on the Opposition Front Bench did when they were in government. The interest that all our families are having to pay on the mountain of national debt built up by the hon. Lady’s party over the past 13 years means that an amount greater than the entire education budget is being spent on debt interest alone. That affects every woman in her constituency and in mine.

I welcome the statement by the Pensions Minister that he intends to end the uncertainty for women who are waiting to learn what their state pension age will be, and that he will be communicating with those who are affected so that they can properly plan for their future. As the right hon. Member for Croydon North said earlier, uncertainty about planning is an issue, and I am glad that the Minister will be addressing it. He will no doubt say something about that later.

I also welcome other aspects of today’s announcements, particularly the move to simplify the single-tier pension system, which will significantly benefit women who have had to take time out of the labour market because of their caring responsibilities, as many hon. Members, including Dame Anne Begg, have pointed out. I should be grateful if the Pensions Minister could also say something about that.