Shadow pensions minister Rachel Reeves has called on the Liberal Democrats to oppose plans to accelerate the rise in state pension age to prove the party’s more “muscular” approach to the coalition.
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has vowed the party will be more muscular, more visible and a louder voice in Government.
His comments follow last week’s local elections which saw the party lose nearly 750 councillors, half its councils as well as losing the alternative vote referendum.
Speaking after a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons this morning, Reeves says everyone apart from the pensions minister, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, spoke against the move which would see the state pension age increasing more quickly than previously planned.
She says: “Everyone who spoke today spoke against the proposals, including two Liberal Democrat MPs. The Government could not find a single MP to defend its plans. This is an opportunity for the Lib Dems to show they will be sticking with the coalition agreement after Nick Clegg’s boasts of a more muscular liberalism.”
The pension bill will see men and women’s state pension age equalised at 65 in 2018 and rise to 66 by April 2020. The coalition agreement says the pension age will not start to rise before 2016 for men and 2020 for women.