State Pension: Impact of Changes on Women

Part of Opposition Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:00 pm on 26th September 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Clare Bailey Clare Bailey Green 6:00 pm, 26th September 2016

Thank you, Principal Deputy Speaker. I will keep it brief. I have heard most Members state that they understand exactly the implications and impacts that this issue is having on women. Naomi Long said that our Executive have no control over these changes, but having the debate in the House can highlight the fact that we as a society need to embed urgently a gendered impact study on economic decisions that are being made in the wider economy because this is an absolutely shameful treatment of women. I believe that it is targeted welfare reform from the Tory Government on women in Northern Ireland.

If a woman was born in 1953, she will be 63 this year. I am sure that that is no surprise to any women born in 1953, but these women have already suffered many economic disadvantages in their lives. They were forced to leave certain jobs in the workforce if they got married. They were actively refused access to some other career paths, and they had no childcare provision. Actually, even today, we still have no childcare provision, and we do not have equal access to maternity and paternity leave in wider society. All those things impact on women's economic autonomy and choices. For a Government to then target them and leave them with little or no notice to make the required changes is absolutely shameful treatment. I do not believe that this is an implementation matter, although that was disgraceful on its own. It is absolutely about the equal treatment of all citizens throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.