Social Security

Part of Rail Update – in the House of Commons at 6:24 pm on 5th February 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Social Justice) 6:24 pm, 5th February 2018

I think we have heard enough, and I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman wishes to, he can make a speech later.

The order will not do much to make up for the lack of conformity that the European Committee of Social Rights has highlighted, and that Ministers seem so clueless about. Its latest report follows the High Court ruling on the UK Government’s changes to personal independence payments, which said that the system “blatantly discriminates” against people with mental health problems, and a report from the UN saying that Tory benefit cuts “violate human rights”. This Government have another new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who has thankfully accepted the High Court ruling on PIP. Perhaps it is time for her to take a fresh look at all the other areas of international criticism as well.

On pensions, Ministers will not be surprised at my disappointment that another year has gone by without any action on frozen pensions or to sort out the state pension inequalities faced by women. Accompanying the order are regulations—they are brought forward annually under the negative procedure—ensuring that the state pension uprating will not apply to people entitled to the pension living in certain countries around the world. My right hon. Friend Ian Blackford and my hon. Friend Mhairi Black have been pressing the Government on this matter since their election in 2015. It is an injustice that some people, who have earned the right to their pension like everyone else, have their payments frozen at the rate they first received for the rest of their life abroad. It is just not right that the pensions of those who live in some countries continue to rise while those of others are frozen. Some 550,000 British pensioners are affected, who represent 4% of all recipients of the state pension and half of all those drawing their pensions abroad.