10:00AM, Saturday 10 August 2019
The decision to accelerate the rise in the women’s state pension age has had a devastating impact on many women who were born in the Fifties, some of whom are now facing hardship and destitution as a result.
I believe the 2.5 million women affected did not have fair notification of the changes and they deserve recognition for this injustice and transitional protections.
Unfortunately, the Tory Government has said that it will not revisit the state pension age arrangements for women born in the Fifties.
However, a High Court judge recently granted a judicial review to determine whether increases to the women’s state pension age have been lawful.
The initial case was heard in June this year and I’m following updates on this very closely.
I believe we need to ensure that women affected by the state pension equalisation have security in older age, which is why, at the general election, I stood on a Labour manifesto which pledged to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women.
This would alleviate the worst of the impacts and restore some of the dignity that many feel has been taken away.
Furthermore, Labour has put forward proposals to allow women to retire up to two years early, at the age of 64. Given that the Conservatives have so far refused to set aside any additional expenditure, it was felt important to present proposals that were cost-neutral, so that there was no excuse to rule them out. This option would be available to all those waiting to retire and would result in women seeing a small reduction in their weekly state pension entitlement.
I believe both these options should be taken as a starting point and complement additional transitional protections.
I’m aware that women need action on this now and believe it’s unacceptable that the Government is ignoring tangible measures that could help. I will continue to press the Government to put in place the necessary transitional protections to end this injustice.
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