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Labour targets more help for women in state pension reforms

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.


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The whole question of fairness that the Prime Minister is always talking about when referring to pensioners is one of the crucial aspects of the state pensions as it is planned and must be dealt with before the committee stage in the House of Lords. Should the bill be sent back to the House of Commons , the MP’s must deal with all of the discriminatory clauses. The women’s situation as well as the frozen pension issue will prove to be a thorn in the side and this will be to the detriment of any future government as those affected will not let it rest and in any case their is no positive justification for not doing so. Will Her Majesty make this an issue to be resolved before her reign ends I wonder and parliament could finally earn the respect that they wish to have around the world which is sadly lacking at this time. Discrimination does not bode well in any democracy.

  2. Andy Robertson-Fox 17th December 2013 at 4:04 am

    A Review of the economic advantages of uprating should not be necessary; it is not a question of economic advantages but of justice and fairness in treating UK pensioners abroad equally with their counterparts in the UK, EEA countries and some sixteen random select countries like Macedonia, the Philippines and the USA. . The references to the reciprocal arrangements is a government inferred need that the DWP have, after continued pressure, admitted in March this year are quite unnecessary for the uprating to be implemented unilaterally by the UK government.
    The current situation discriminates against 4% of UK pensioners who live in such countries as Australia, Canada, Thailand and about 100 other Commonwealth and non Commonwealth territories around the world. The annual index linking is not paid after the first pension payment in the frozen host country.
    No justification as these pensioners contributed to the NI Scheme when working on the same terms as everyone else but are denied the right to withdraw now retired from the Fund on the same terms as everyone else.
    It is to their eternal shame that the Shadow Pensions Minister, Greg McClymont in both the debate in the commons and in the Scrutiny Committee and Lord German in the Lords did not table the amendment calling for the cancellation of Clause 20 and, in the process cited the long discredited excuses of the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, as their grounds for so doing.
    Of course, Webb does not want a Review because the evidence in the Oxford Economic Report which he naively dismissed without apparently either reading it or understanding it shows that at current levels the saving to the UK economy by unfreezing (and thereby allowing pensioners and soon to be pensioners who would like to emigrate but because of the policy financially are unable to do so) would be about £3,700 per pensioner per year. Blinkered vision Mr Webb but he also does not want a review because ii would delay implementation of the Bill – perhaps he should have thought of that when he, and his party, delayed the First reading by almost a year…

  3. Regarding frozen state pensions. No reciprocal agreements are necessary with any country in the world. This has been admitted by the DWP after Freedom of Information requests and they have had to stop using this excuse in order to try and justify this blatant discrimination. This article does not make it clear that the majority of expat state pensioners get their annual cost of living increases, just 4% are the victims of this disgraceful injustice. These pensioners have paid into the NI scheme all their lives…just the same as the rest and to be treated in this way is outright discrimination and yet this is allowed to go on year in year out. It’s time to end this outrageous theft o f vulnerable pensioners money many of whom have been swindled out of thousands of their hard earned money. This is a national scandal, Steve Webb was totally against this policy when he was in the opposition but is now saying it will remain in the new pensions bill. What a hypocrite this man is, shame on him and the UK government.

  4. All the current Government is doing is whats called “queezing the lemon” and missing a broader picture such as justifying overseas aid and for example:-

    1) 27.5m Pounds aid to China in 2013?
    2) 5.7 Billion pounds (and rising) in immigrant student loans unpaid and unrecoverable.

    The list of sheer waste is endless and far exceeds the cost unfrezing of state

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