Ros Altmann hits out at MPs’ ‘misunderstanding’ of state pension changes

Ros Altmann

Pensions minister Ros Altmann has hit out at MPs who have taken her to task over the new state pension.

The Department for Work and Pensions has been under fire for the way it has communicated the changes.

Thousands of people are expecting to receive £155.65 a week from April 2016 but will not, mainly because of being contracted out of the additional state pension in the past. Recent Government figures show the majority of people will be worse off as a result of the reforms by 2050.

In an evidence session with the Work and Pensions committee today, the minister said committee members had misunderstood recent changes made by the DWP to state pension statements.

The committee published an interim report for its inquiry into the new state pension early this month that called for urgent changes to the statements.

But Altmann says the Government has already made the changes.

She says: “I was a little confused by your interim report because it was calling for us to do exactly what we’ve done. You had the statements and the set of changes we made in November, which tells you how much state pension you were opted-out of in any years you were contracted out.”

She adds: “We’ve already done what you’re asking us to do or unfortunately one of the areas you’ve asked us to change is incorrect. There has been a misunderstanding among the committee.”

Altmann has previously blamed her predecessors, under former minister Steve Webb, for spreading misinformation about the changes.

She told the committee: “It’s much harder to undo impressions that have been wrongly gained initially than to get the impressions right in the first place.”

She added: “I hope you’ll see the extent of the work we’ve been doing to explain the new system over the last months.”

A high profile campaign to help women born in the 1950s also suffered a blow as Altmann confirmed the Government would not be granting transitional protections.

The women say they were not given enough warning about two changes to their state pension age.