Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne will today commit to fighting the Government’s state pension reform plans on the grounds that 700,000 women will be “short changed” under the new system.
The Department for Work and Pensions has published proposals to scrap state pension means testing in favour of a flat rate, single tier payment of £144 a week for future retirees. The new state pension will be introduced in 2016.
Byrne will give a speech to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce today arguing the reforms are “unfair” to women.
He says 700,000 women born between 1951 and 1953 will lose out under the new system.
Byrne says: “A flat rate pension is a good idea which we proposed in office. But we will not stand by and let ministers short change Britain’s pensioners.
“David Cameron’s pensions changes have consistently hit working women. Now the Government’s flat rate pension plan will short change 700,000 women and offer just a second class pension in return for a lifetime’s work.
“That’s not fair, it’s not right and Labour will campaign against it. We’ll campaign to improve this reform so the new flat rate pension is truly fair and doesn’t leave hundreds of thousands of women behind.”
Byrne will also pledge his support for “Australian-style” pension reforms in the UK which would see small, sub-scale schemes forced to merge.
Pensions minister Steve Webb says: “A major benefit of being able to introduce our state pension reforms from April 2016 is that every woman affected by the changes we made to the state pension age will have access to the new flat rate pension.
“For women born before April 1953, being able to draw their state pension up to four years before a man of the same age means most will be thousands of pounds better off over the course of their retirement.”