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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.”

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Comments

There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Andy Robertson-Fox 4th January 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Congratulations on securing the debate but to my mind this may well be seen as unfair in not giving sufficient notice and lacking in communication but all those affected will be treated equally within the parameters set by their date of birth. However over 560,000 pensioners who contributed to the NI scheme under the same terms and conditions as everyone else are not treated equally or fairly in drawing their State Retirement Pension. They are the frozen pensioners who are discriminated against solely because of the country in which they now live…eg Canada frozen but not the USA. Yet in 1997 the Social Security and Welfare Committee recommended that the policy should be the subject of full debate in the Commons; the pensioners still wait for the debate to happen. Do you not think that resolution of this scandal should take priority? I would suggest 104 year old Annıe Carr, who should be getting £113.50 per week thinks so as she cashes in her full non-ındex linked pension of just £6.72.

  2. Andy Robertson-Fox has highlighted the worst aspect of the state pension with the governments past and present failing to deal with what is a problem of their own making over the years and in recent years using a discriminative regulation to deny any uprating to this minority 4% of all pensioners worldwide, noting that there are a greater number of state pensioners abroad who do get the uprated pension in the same way as they would if stIll resident in the UK.
    So 96% are treated correctly and honestly, while the 4% are left to look poverty in the face if they have no other income in retirement just look at the case of Annie Carr and she is not alone !
    This problem could be resolved at the stroke of a pen but for the intransigence of the politicians to have a full and open debate but as has been said we are still waiting.
    Should you ask them about a debate they will say that it was debated when the new Pensions Act was in the Committee stage but the truth is that during the scrutiny phase, questions were not fully and correctly answered, submissions by the public were deemed irrelevant and in total the debate was a travesty of justice.
    Why is it not dealt with ?
    After many devious answers in the House of Lords, Lord Freud admitted that it was just a question of money. So how much then ? Well about £590 million. If that seems to be a lot of money and to an individual it is but to put it into perspective this would be just about 0.7% of the Pension budget. So not even 1% to grant Pension parity and bring the UK into line with all other countries operating similar pension schemes, the UK being the only member of the OECD
    to not grant pension parity worldwide remembering that £11.4 billion was given out in aid which was considered affordable obviously.

  3. I totally agree with Morgeo and Andy Robertson-Fox. The frozen 4% of state pensioners have never had the proper debate they have been asking for and this outrageous theft of their indexing has been going on for decades. I’m pleased for the women affected by this unfair decision but the frozen pensioners have been waiting for justice for many years, meanwhile their state pensions are worth less each year. A scandal that seems to be ignored by most politicians, shame on them.

  4. I would add that the regulation that I mentioned earlier will be superceded by section 20 of the new Pensions Act coming into force in April which will impose the same undemocratic, illogical, irrational. discriminative policy on future emigrants and foreign workers returning to their native country should that country be one that the government see fit to deny the indexation.
    The adjectives used are those of politicians opposed to this shameful policy.

  5. The debate this week was a motion put forward by Mhairi Black. It is not a direct result of the petition for fair transitional arrangements.

    The debate will also focus on the 2011 changes, rather than the 1995 and 2011 changes combined.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox 5th January 2016 at 5:35 pm

      I am not certain but I believe before a petition can be debated in the House it has to be proposed by an MP and I think that Mhair Black has agreed to accept that role; she is also a member of the APPG that is looking at the Frozen Pension Policy.

  6. “Regulations may provide that an overseas resident who is entitled to a state pension is not entitled to up-rating increases” These are the words of Section 20 (1) 2014 Pension Act, that can freeze the state pension of ANYONE who is entitled (note the word Ms Altmann) to receive it – fo life.
    “Freeze” in case you don’t know, is to have no increases to your hard-earned pension for as long as you breathe.
    While I congratulate the ladies of WASPI for the huge effort – and the brilliant figures – they’ve got out of their petition, Section 20 can throw a huge spanner in the retirement plans of ANY state pension recipient, past, present or future.
    This barbaric and punishing, it should be noted was put through Parliament with NO debate, purely a Committee in a smoke filled room lined with mirrors personally hung by Steve Webb, the LibDem Pension Minister. But that’s another story in this farce!

  7. Sorry, I should have said in the last paragraph, “This barbaric and punishing law was, it should be noted – pushed through Parliament with NO debate…..”

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