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The concession made by the Government is, of course, a welcome one. The fact that we are saying that it is not enough does not mean that it is not welcome, but I do ask why they have taken so long to arrive at this point. On Second Reading, back in June, not a single Government Back Bencher spoke in favour of the Government’s proposals on the acceleration in women’s pension age. They were clearly unhappy but were prevailed on at the time, it would appear, to vote for Second Reading by being told that some form of transitional arrangement would be forthcoming.
Those of us who were privileged to serve in Committee asked for the transitional arrangements so that we could debate and scrutinise them, which is what a Committee ought to be about, but we were told that they were not ready because they would be very complicated. “By the way,” said the Minister, “Where are your transitional proposals? Why have you not come up with any?” As a new Member, I thought that perhaps it was commonplace for the Opposition to be expected to come up with proposals for the Government because they have not thought them up yet—