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State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:47 pm on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of David Anderson David Anderson Labour, Blaydon 12:47 pm, 7th January 2016

I am sure the women listening to this debate will be glad that Marcus Fysh feels sympathy for them. When he lectures people about saving early in life, he might want to recall that many of the women we are talking about were barred from paying into secondary pension schemes.

I congratulate Mhairi Black on securing this debate. She should not have had to do so—there should have been a statement from the Government. She said the subject was complicated. People always hide behind the notion—the hon. Lady did not do so—that pensions are very complicated, but this is a very simple debate. This is not a pensions debate; it is a debate about public policy.

We have a Chancellor who has a long-term economic plan—Members might have heard about it. It was supposed to end the deficit in four years. It was a complete and utter flop. He cannot even put forward a plan that lasts four weeks. Last year he came to the House with a Budget that would have been detrimental to working people, to those facing welfare cuts and to pensions. A few weeks later he came back with £27 billion in his pocket, which he had found at the back of the settee. That was going to be the way forward. With one leap, he was free. But this morning he is all over the media telling us, “Whoa, hang on. You’ve got it wrong. We’re in a mess again. We’ve got to put the brake on again. People have to realise that we are still facing lots of austerity.”

To give them credit, Government Members who have spoken today have trotted out that line and said how hard it is going to be, as billions of pounds are needed to put right the existing wrongs. However, we have to accept that this is not like the weather. This is a political choice being imposed on the people of this country. The Government are knowingly and deliberately making women, rather than the wealthy, pay for the mistakes that resulted in the crash in 2008, caused not by the Labour party, but by the bankers and the global markets.