State Pension: Impact of Changes on Women

Part of Opposition Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 5:30 pm on 26th September 2016.

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Photo of Colin McGrath Colin McGrath Social Democratic and Labour Party 5:30 pm, 26th September 2016

Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. The points raised are exceptionally valid. This was to address a £30 billion gap, as we were told, in the pension pot, but it seems most unfair that to address a £30 billion gap in the pension pot they singled out this one group, this narrow band of people, and picked on them. That seems exceptionally unfair. It is the fact that, when the changes were made, people were not fully aware of what their implementation would mean. That was caught on only in 2008, 2009 and 2010. That is why the issue is being raised now.

Some of the matter is devolved. I wrote to the Work and Pensions Minister in England and to our local Minister. With respect to our local Minister, he wrote back to me. The Minister in England said that it was a devolved issue; the local Minister said that it was something that we did on a parity basis with London. It just seems that, as the women were explaining to me earlier, every time they try to get the issue sorted out, they seem to go round in circles.

This is a big issue. It affects lots of people in our community. They are being treated very unjustly. They are being left substantially out of pocket. I support the motion so that we can send them a message from here to say that we support them and are on their side.