What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on improving pension transition arrangements for women born in the 1950s.
My hon. Friend Carolyn Harris and I, Members of the Minister’s own party, and all Opposition parties in this House, including the Democratic Unionist party, have introduced a Bill, to be debated on
I can only repeat the answer I just gave: the Government do not intend to revisit the state pension age arrangements for women born in the 1950s who are affected by the Pensions Acts of 1995, 2007 and 2011. The cost would be in excess of £70 billion.
The Minister will be aware that, following the Brexit vote, bond yields dropped by 30%, increasing the public sector pensions bill by a hefty 30% to £1.8 trillion over the last year. Is this latest example of Government ineptitude the real reason WASPI women are being ignored, penalised and denied their pensions?
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question, but if her Government in Scotland disagree with any aspect of the UK Government’s welfare reforms, they have the powers to do something about it. I refer her to the letter of
The reasons for the original changes were the changes in life expectancy and equality law. If the law proposed by Labour were to approach men and women differently, it would—with respect—be highly dubious as a matter of law.
Those who seek to make the case for such a law would need to satisfy themselves that men would not bring a case against the proposers, because it would unquestionably create a new inequality between men and women.
The ombudsman’s first rulings on whether the Government are guilty of maladministration for failing to give 50s-born women sufficient notice of their earlier retirement age are due soon. Maladministration or not—it will take years to resolve that matter—can I ask the new Minister to take this back, think again, tell us what he is prepared to do, and what research he is prepared to do, to alleviate their misery, and perhaps even consider our proposals on pension credit and allowing them to retire up to two years earlier?
The Government strongly believe that there has been no maladministration by the Department for Work and Pensions, including during the 13 years when Labour was in charge of the Department.
Is the new state pension not in fact removing injustices that have persisted for far too long, and are not the main beneficiaries women and low earners?
My hon. Friend is correct. The new state pension is much more generous for the many women who were historically worse off under the old system. More than 3 million women stand to gain an average of £550 extra per year by 2030 as a result of these changes.