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State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:23 pm on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Conservative, Norwich North 12:23 pm, 7th January 2016

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that point; I do recognise the grounds of the campaign. As I hope I have made clear with remarks from my constituents, I recognise the importance of the issue for every single person affected. I will leave it to the Minister to reply to the hon. Gentleman specifically about pension credits, but let me give him one further example of what £30 billion can buy. It can buy some of the debt interest on his party’s Government’s financial catastrophe, on which we have to spend £36 billion in this financial year.

I will conclude, because I have only a few minutes left and I have already taken several interventions. We have to listen carefully to such a comprehensive and well informed campaign, and I am pleased that we are doing that today. I want my constituents’ concerns, which I have given prominence in my comments, to be balanced with everything else that the Government have to do. I strongly sympathise with the campaign, and in 2011 I was active in representing my constituents’ views to the then Pensions Minister to mitigate the two-year delay in about a quarter of a million women receiving their pension. My call today is for the Government to communicate considerably better than has been done to date. It seems to me that we cannot go back, and equalisation has to mean equalisation. We cannot delay it for ever or duck it. We need to maintain the principles that I have set out and communicate better.