Labour has tabled a series of amendments to the Pensions Bill to boost state pension provision for women and those nearing retirement.
The Bill is in committee stage in the House of Lords today and Labour has tabled an amendment which would commit the Government to review its proposed increase in the number of qualifying years needed to receive the pension within six months of the Bill becoming law.
The Bill increases the number of years of NI contributions required to be eligible for a full state pension from 30 to 35 years. It also introduces a new minimum of 10 years of contributions to qualify to receive any state pension.
The opposition argues the change in qualifying years disproportionately affects women and those who are close to retirement who had a legitimate expectation they would only require 30 years.
It also argues the move is against Lord Adair Turner’s recommendations that people should be given 10 years notice with regard entitlement changes
It wants the review to look into the effect on service personnel’s spouses, divorcees, and widowers.
The review would also examine jobs which do not earn enough to pay NI and whether they can opt in to NI contributions in order to get credit towards a state pension.
In a series of frontbench amendments, Labour also wants the Department for Work and Pensions to examine the inherited rights of women under the changes within six months of the Bill passing.
The Bill will focus pensions on individual contributions and stop people claiming their spouses’ NICs, saving millions for the Treasury.
Labour agrees with the principle but says there should be a 15 year transition for women who have built up no NICs and rely on their husband’s contributions.
The party says there is a legacy of derived benefits and a reasonable expectation, in line with the cross party consensus, around the need for 10 years of notice to be given.
Labour also wants the DWP to analyse whether there could be economic benefits to uprating the payments to overseas pensioners in line with UK pensions.
Currently, the Bill also proposes overseas pensioners will see their pension frozen unless their country of residence is covered by a reciprocal arrangement.