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State Pension Age (Women)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 7th January 2016.

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Photo of Mhairi Black Mhairi Black Scottish National Party, Paisley and Renfrewshire South 2:45 pm, 7th January 2016

First, I wish to congratulate the House on having such a good quality debate. What has been striking is that this is an issue that clearly crosses party boundaries and constituencies. The Minister said that it had already been thoroughly debated, but that was in 2011. All the evidence that we have heard today shows that this matter needed to be debated more, which it has been, and we have found that the accommodation reached in 2011 did not go far enough and is not good enough. Despite my intervention in this whole debate, I am no further forward in understanding whether, if this motion is passed, the Government will commit to reassess the transitional arrangements.

The Minister has spoken at great length about equalisation. Nobody here disagrees with the principle of equalisation. What we are concerned about is the transition, and that has not been addressed. My hon. Friend Ian Blackford quite rightly pointed out that this matter is about priority; everything that a Government decide to do is about priority. I am still not clear what the priorities of this Government are, and for that reason I wish to press this matter to a vote.

Annotations

Andy Robertson-Fox
Posted on 10 Jan 2016 10:55 am (Report this annotation)

I have noticed that in some of the speeches the word "discrimination" is used.

While the question of communicating the changes has been debated it is, I believe, generally accepted that this was as a result of poor management and not deliberate policy, but the transitional arrangements are different. The fact that women are treated disproportionately governed by the parmameters relating to their date of birth is not discrimination albeit may well be seen as unfair.

However, when one has pensioners who have all contributed to the NI scheme on the same terms and conditions as everyone else during their working lives but while some are paid a State Retirement Pension at one level others, with identical contribution records, are paid at another, then we have discrimination.

As Mhair Black is only too well aware through her membership of the APPG on the Frozen Pension Policy this is the case for 560,000 pensioners who live overseas and are denied index linking while a further 650,000 who also live overseas receive it, as, of course, do some 11 million pensioners resident in the UK.

Perhaps it is now time for the issue to be debated on the floor of the House of Commons, as was recommended in 1997 by the Social Security and Welfare Benefits Committee and is still awaited.

George Morley
Posted on 10 Jan 2016 3:47 pm (Report this annotation)

Mhairi Black paints the picture well and in reading one paragraph she says " a person only receives the higher rate of the new pension if they have paid 35 years of national insurance, but many women have not had the chance to build up that level of contribution. It is a separate issue; I mention it, first, to raise awareness and, secondly, in the hope it will earn a debate on its own merits."
She also mentions the legality and the law.
Throughout this whole debate it could well be about the Frozen Pension mentioned by Andy Robertson-Fox and let us hope that this debate has informed members if this anomaly where many and most frozen pensioners paid their contributions over a period of 44 years which now has to be addressed as it will continue to be a thorn in the side until the Government look after the people that they are elected to represent in a right and proper way granting equality and respect in retirement not to mention the lack of respect currently felt throughout the Commonwealth where this policy appears to be aimed contrary to the aims of the Charter of the Commonwealth
Thankyou Mhairi Black.