Guy Opperman: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Chancellor on a range of issues. The Department has had specific discussions with both the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority on the FCA’s proposed remedies in this area, and our plans to ensure that details of these costs and charges are published and given to pension scheme members.
Guy Opperman: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. He will be aware that auto-enrolment has reversed the decline in work-based pension saving, with 8.5 million people signed up and further progress to be made. The reality is that, by reason of the coalition and this Government, we have a new state pension that is worth £1,250 more than in 2010.
Guy Opperman: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the Chancellor, but the Government will not be revisiting the state pension age arrangements for women born in the 1950s that are affected by the Pensions Acts of 1995, 2007 and 2011.
Guy Opperman: 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.
Guy Opperman: 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 22 June from Jeane Freeman, my opposite number, which specifically discusses the uses of Scotland Act powers to address individual cases.
Guy Opperman: 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.
Guy Opperman: 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.
Guy Opperman: 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.
Guy Opperman: 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.
Guy Opperman: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has regular discussions with all Cabinet colleagues on a range of issues. The Government will not be revisiting the state pension age changes implemented by the Pension Acts 1995 and 2011. This Government are committed to supporting 1950s-born women and men who cannot work, and those who wish to continue working, retraining or returning to work.
Guy Opperman: Many companies such as the Co-operative, Barclays, Aviva, Centrica and others have committed to older workers by recruiting and retraining them. The employment rate for those aged between 50 and 64 is up 48,000 this quarter, and 213,000 on the year. That includes 57,000 people who started apprenticeships aged between 45 and 59, and 3,560 who started apprenticeships over the age of 60.