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State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government) 12:32 pm, 7th January 2016

I agree completely with my hon. Friend.

My constituent is not the only person who knows that things should not be this way. Baroness Altmann, who is now in the other place as Minister for Pensions, said when she was director general of Saga that the Government’s changes to state pensions were “clearly discriminatory”. In 2011, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions made a firm commitment to look at transitional provisions to help the women hit hardest by the changes, and the previous Pensions Minister stated only last year that the changes that had been made were

“a decision that we got wrong”.

It is outrageous that, despite knowing that, the Government are not prepared to do anything about it. They seem content to let the women affected continue to suffer.

Another of my constituents, Dianne Dawson, took voluntary redundancy from her job when she was 60 years old, assuming that she would reach state pension age at 62. She then found out, not from the DWP but from a friend, that she would reach state pension age at 64. She is now living off dwindling savings, and as a result she is having to sell her family home. She has never received anything at all from the DWP. No wonder she feels completely let down and cheated.

There are many more women in such difficult situations, who have worked their entire lives only to find out at the eleventh hour that the system they trusted and paid into for decades has let them down. I urge the Minister to look seriously at the motion, because if transitional arrangements are not introduced, the women affected and Opposition Members will not give up pressing for them. I am sure the Minister agrees that it would be a lot more costly and embarrassing for the Government if those individuals began to seek legal redress. I just hope that the work of WASPI campaigners and others that has prompted today’s debate will lead the Government for once to listen.