State pension campaigners secure Westminster debate

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Increases to womens’ state pension age will be debated in the House of Commons later this week after a petition attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

The debate will focus on communication of the changes, which has seen the state pension age of women increase from 60 to 66 following successive acts of Parliament in 1995 and 2011.

Campaigners say the changes have been poorly communicated by the Government, and a debate has now been scheduled for 7 January.

The debate will be led by Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black, who also sits on the Work and Pensions committee.

Black was among the MPs who heard from Women Against State Pension Inequality campaigners in December, when the Work and Pensions committee investigated the changes.

The committee will hold a second hearing on the topic on 18 January, although witnesses have yet to be confirmed.

Labour shadow pensions minister Nick Thomas-Symonds has given the campaign a cautious welcome, but told the FT he felt the argument for extended transitional arrangements for women affected was stronger when focused on the 2011 changes, which accelerated the increase from 65 to 66.

He says: “I think the case is stronger for 2011 because of the promise to consider transitional provisions [made by Iain Duncan Smith] in 2011.

“We say they have never followed it through.”