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Crabb to meet Waspi campaigners


New Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb is engaging in meetings with the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaigners, and will sit down with a prominent Tory critic next week.

Pensions minister Ros Altmann revealed the meetings at a Work and Pensions Committee hearing earlier today.

Altmann said that Crabb has already met women affected by the reforms, and will speak to Conservative MP Tim Loughton, a member of the newly formed WASPI all party parliamentary group, next week.

The news comes after Altmann told BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox this weekend that she had been able to engage further with Crabb on campaigns following the departure of his predecessor Iain Duncan Smith.

At the time of Duncan Smith’s resignation, Altmann bemoaned being “undermined” in her efforts to look at policies issues like women’s state pensions, and told the BBC this weekend: “I am hoping that we will be able to help, but I can’t make any promises.”

The meeting comes after the Government has repeatedly rejected transitional arrangements to ease the impact of the acceleration of the increase in women’s state pension age created by successive legislation.

In January this year, DWP minister Shailesh Vara maintained that provisions for women affected had been thoroughly debated at the time, noting that the Government had already made a £1.1bn concession by reducing to 24 months to 18 months the maximum amount of extra time any woman affected would have to wait before accessing their state pension.

Triple lock

Seperately, Altmann also refused to lend her support to extending the triple lock beyond 2020.

The Conservatives ran the 2015 election with a manifesto promise to maintain the triple lock throughout this parliament.

However, the policy has become increasingly controversial, with Duncan Smith admitting shortly after his resignation that it is among the pensioner benefits ripe for review.

Altmann said: “There is absolutely no doubt we are 100 per cent committed and the triple lock will remain in place until 2020, there is no change in that whatsoever.

“The policy thereafter is up to a future government.”

Repeatedly pressed by MPs on her own view, the minister refused to back an extension for the policy, saying she was examining evidence up to the end of the parliament, but that DWP modelling including maintaining the triple lock.

She said: “We have projections that support the reforms that we have done to state and private pensions going forward, that not only are they sustainable but they will provide a good income for pensioners in the future.”



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There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Andy Robertson-Fox 27th April 2016 at 1:51 pm

    While one has some sympathy with the Waspi campaigners over the somewhat short transitional arrngements and the traditional lack of notice from the DWP there is a group of pensioners who have been waiting over sixty years for equality, fairness and justice – the frozen pensioners.
    It is to be hoped that Baroness Altmann, who has been remarkably sılent on the ıssue, has also persuaded the Secretary of State, Stephen Crabb, to meet the APPG concerned with frozen pensions, chaired by Sir Roger Gale. Perhaps, too, a meeting with members of the International Consortium of British Pensioners with a view to ending the long standing discrimination against 4% of all UK State pensioners who are denied any index linking….solely because of where they live..

  2. There is an even larger group of people who have been waiting even longer for equality and fairness namely ….Men. This has been sex discrimination at its most blatant!

  3. With the case of the Frozen Pensioners it seems to be a case of they are over there and we are here, so we can ignore them. The Frozen pensioners are not in a position to hold a march to Westminster and although some newspapers do highlight this blatant theft of a rightful pension increase the politicians in general either do not know about it or spell out the incorrect excuses put out by the DWP.
    Mr Crabb, if he has any morality in his makeup must step up and fully address this longstanding policy which past Pension Ministers have seen as a reason to maintain the status quo like Steve Webb saying “It’s been like that for decades and decades.” Well so was hanging and slavery and even same sex marriage has been given the stamp of approval as they were being denied equality. Where is the equality and respect by government in this issue – it is non-existant – when about 650,000 pensioners abroad are granted the state pension uprating and 560,000 pensioners also abroad are not then the question of political bias and lack of probity must be addressed.
    The ball is in your court Mr Crabb. Will you drop it and pretend that there is no problem or be the man that you say you are with Christian values that will lift the burden of guilt from her Majesty the Queen who is not only the head of the Church of England but also that of the Commonwealth where this discriminative policy is mostly aimed contrary to the Charter of the Commonwealth which she signed for the Government.

  4. Presumably ‘where they live’ means not the UK and they have chosen to live abroad somewhere and not pay into the UK economy? Just a thought.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox 27th April 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Just a thought Ted, but totally irrelevant! These pensioners contributed to the NI scheme on the same terms and conditions during their working lives as everybody else but are denied being able to withdraw their pensions on the same terms and conditions as everybody else, meaning that out of 1.1 million pensioners living overseas some 660,000 are index linked and the remaining 550,000 are frozen….and all are assessable for UK tax, many have a liability and pay and, of course, the saving to the UK economy the DWP confirm of a pensioner retired abroad is £3,800 per pensioner, per annum.

  5. No need to worry about that Ted Shaw. Your comment is quite often made but the truth of the issue is that the ex-pat pensioner is assessable for paying tax to the UK wherever they live and by the very fact that they are not in the UK, the saving to the Government is in the region of £4,000 per pensioner for the many benefits (TV, winter heating etc), NHS and prescriptions and they are not able to use the NHS for free if returning for a holiday unless it is for an accident or complaint that they were not already suffering from. So you might think that they would encourage emigration which would be a win win for Government and pensioner. But no, we are dealing with politicians.

  6. Mr. Shaw, your comment might be valid if it applied to ALL pensioners who live abroad, but the freezing of only certain pensions is pure discrimination. More than 660,000 expat pensioners receive full indexation while more than 550,000 have their pensions frozen, the difference in treatment often affecting pensioners who live merely a few yards apart, as in Canada and the USA. Furthermore, we all paid our N.I. contributions on exactly the same terms and information on the policy was deliberately withheld from us before we left the UK, despite the fact that we had told the DWP of our intended moves. Moreover, we still pay tax on all income – and we are saving the Government between £4000 and £7000 a year, varying mainly with essential health care.

    As has been stated in two previous comments, we look to you, Mr. Crabb, to help towards bringing justice to a manifestly unjust Government policy.

  7. I welcome the news that Mr Crabb is going to meet the WASPI ladies via their newly formed APPG. I would also welcome the news that Mr Crabb would also meet the members of the APPG on Frozen Pensions to show “Fairness” – as David Cameron puts it so often.
    The frozen pension issue has been around a lot longer, and that’s part of the reason it’s being ignored by those that might lose their argument. It’s just not in fashion right now.
    It’s argued that purely because this unjustified cruel policy has been enforced for so long, it must be right. I would point those that say that in the direction of many things – votes for women; slavery; legalized abortion; legalized drug taking. The list goes on & on.
    All of those highly contentious issues were very much illegal until not so long ago, but now are highly acceptable.
    As all Government’s excuses for continuing the frozen pension policy have now been shot down, why should this issue that destroys so many lives, be any different? Because to continue a policy based on longevity is also indefensible.

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