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Lib Dems up campaign for state pension equality

The Liberal Democrats have stepped up their campaign for state pension equality, asking new pensions secretary Amber Rudd to address the reasons why women face lower pensions than men.

The party has again called for progress on helping women born in the 1950s hit with state pension age rises, a cause popularised by the Women Against State Pension Inequality or Waspi campaign.

It has also reiterated calls to tackle the problem of women left with a reduced pension because they were unaware of the rules around child benefit or did not file the right paperwork.

Rudd took over the role of work and pensions secretary last week after predecessor Esther McVey resigned over the government’s EU withdrawal deal.

Paul Lewis: The trouble with Govt tax allowancesLiberal Democrat MP and work and pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd says: “This is a government happy to let two sets of women live in potentially reduced circumstances through no real fault of their own, while at the same time pushing through a Budget which contained tax cuts for some of the highest earners in the land.

“It shows that the government, blinded by a Brexit bedlam of its own making, has lost even the most basic common sense in policy making. I hope that Amber Rudd will address this in her new role.”

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Comments

There are 16 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Andy Robertson-Fox 21st November 2018 at 8:53 am

    The LibDems canpaigned when in opposition for the abolition of the frozen pension policy which affects just 4% of all UK pensioners; they get no index linking because of where they live abroad. In the coalition government the Pensions Minister was LibDem Steve Webb but did they support the repeal of the regulation? Did they heck! It’s now enshrined in the 2014 Pension Act! Well, if the LibDems couldn’t change the law when they held the cards what chance now for a less deserving campaign?

    • I agree with your comment about frozen pensions Andy, they had every chance to right this outrageous wrong but they did nothing, but I disagree that the 50’s and 60’s women who are now struggling without their pension, in some cases for 6 more years are less deserving of pension justice. All pension injustice must stop and there is not one injustice more important than any other. Theft is theft.

      • If there isn’t one pension injustice more important than any other, why are you only referring to women born in the 1950s and 1960s?

        Women born 1970 onwards, as well as all men born after 1953, have had their state pension age increased.

        • Andy Robertson-Fox 22nd November 2018 at 8:24 am

          But increasing the age of eligibility for the State Retirement Pension is not an injustice, however, unwelcome and inconvenient that may be. But to treat, say, twin pensioners with identical NI contribution records differently because, for example, one lives in the UK and the other in Australia, most certainly is.

        • Women born in the 70’s have more time to prepare for the extra years, the 50’s women had no notice and therefor no time to adjust to working for 5 and in some cases 6 years longer. Men will have to work for just one year longer from October 2020. A big difference, this is why they are protesting.

          • In the original post you stated there is “not one injustice more important than any other”. You are now suggesting that this principle only applies to women born upto 31st December 1969. This ignores that a woman born in the early 1970s will probably have had more increases to their state pension age (3), and a higher state pension age (68).

            You don’t seem to think this is a problem because they have more time to “prepare”. What exactly they are expected to do with this notice to make up an 8 year shortfall is unclear (“plant magic beans?”). Again, this ignores that women affected by the 1995 Act had at least 15 years notice. If you hold the view that notice was not valid without a personalised letter, then all women born after 1960 have had no notice at all as they didn’t get a letter either.

            It is a complete double standard; most of the opposition to the 1950s women’s campaigns is that they try to claim a monopoly on state pension age rises, when in reality it affects us all. Until they acknowledge this the campaigns are unlikely to get anywhere.

          • Men born after 1953 will have had upto 3 years added to their state pension age. A 1 year rise only applies to those born upto 1960.

  2. Rt Hon Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling 21st November 2018 at 1:31 pm

    ‘Through no fault of their own’? Since when did not knowing the rules or bothering to find out abscentia a taxpayer from fault?

  3. 2 comments have confirmed what I know of this totally undemocratic policy thanks to the LibDems and Steve Webb who gained a knighthood for cheating honest pensioners out of any annual uprating of their pensions costing me over £27,000 so far not including my wife’s pension with both of us now aged 84 and all savings long gone, thankfully we have a supportive family despite a government that uses discrimination against its pensioners abroad by fraudulently demanding an agreement from the country of residence of the pensioner to “allow’ them to pay us our rightful indexation entitlement when no such agreement is necessary as it is a purely domestic issue – nothing to do with another country ?

  4. Thank you very much for your comment, as ill advised as it is. For many years, the DWP (and the DHSS before it) did not tell people who were emigrating that they would not receive the annual increase to their State Pension. They were also not told that they will effectively pay tax on income that they do not receive. According to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Government saves around £1,500 per pensioner per year, for each of the 1.2 million pensioners living overseas. This equates to £1.8 Billion per year. This is after taking into account taxes forgone (e.g. income tax and VAT) verses health, housing and social welfare benefits. The cost to uprate all Frozen Pensions is £500 million a year, so the government could still save £1.3 billion a year – is this not enough?
    The second point that I would like to make is in regard to the National Insurance Fund (NIF). All National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are paid into the NIF, and these are used to pay the State Pension. The NIF is managed by HMRC, and, according to the latest set of accounts ( https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/748572/Great_Britain_National_Insurance_Fund_Account_-_2017_to_2018.pdf) there is a closing balance of £24.2 Billion – this is our money. By law, the NIF has to maintain a running balance equal to 1/6 of the annual payments from the Fund. This equates to £16.9 Billion. This means that there is an excess of £7.3 billion. In the past 12 months, this excess has grown by £2.2 billion. Why can the Pension uprating not be paid out of this excess?
    Thirdly, there is Brexit. Today, there are around 500,000 UK pensioners living in the EEA. Currently, they receive the annual increase to their UK State Pension. Under today’s rules, these pensioners will lose this annual increase after 29th March 2019, as there will then be no legal obligation for the government to continue to annually uprate the UK State Pension. However, special clauses have been included in the Withdrawal Agreement that allow for the “export of benefits”, one of which is the State Pension. I could argue that the State Pension is a right and not a benefit, but that is an argument for another day. The way in which the government will implement this is through “bilateral agreement(s)”, since that is the only mechanism that the government uses. The government has consistently said for a number of years now that they will not enter into any more bilateral agrements as they are too expensive. To complicate matters further, on two separate occasions, the government have also said that bilateral agreements are not required in order to annually uprate the State Pension. The question I have is this: Why is the government going to negotiate bilateral agreements with the EEA countries, but refuses to do so for the 150 Frozen Countries? Is this not further discrimination?
    Finally, there is the moral argument (not that politicians have any morals whatsoever anymore). Not only is the current frozen pensions policy discriminatory, it is also inconsistent. I have 39 years on NIC’s and decided to retire to Canada. If you retire and live south of the Niagara Falls (and live in the US), then you receive the annual increase. Live 500 yards north, on the Canadian side of the Falls, and you don’t – how can this be equitable, on any level. Either all pensioners living overseas or none should – I could live with that.

    Thank you for your interest.

  5. Arthur Streeb-Greebling needs to check his facts. Many people, before leaving the U.K., checked with the DWP. I had numerous conversations with them including setting up a new Direct Debit so they could continue collecting my NI after I had moved abroad. Once settled in Antigua, I contacted them to get a cost for the six week period between the time I ceased paying in the U.K. and the date when they set up the new Direct Debit. I had three replies, all with different figures so I paid all three. At no time did they mention that my pension would be frozen. I suspect it was the people with whom I was dealing who did not know the rules and, anyway, what sort of question should I have asked to get an answer telling me my pension would be frozen. Furthermore, as Anne Puckridge from Canada discovered, after chasing the DWP for 12 years for written information on her frozen pension, she was finally told that, to save money, the DWP had stopped printing the leaflets. In any event, what is being done is morally wrong and, maybe, legally wrong. Everyone paid the same and everyone should receive the same.

  6. Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling is a fictional character played by British comedian Peter Cook
    I

  7. Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling is a fictional character played by British comedian Peter Cook. Iwould suggest that his comment be ignored as we are talking about a serious matter which has seen thousands of pensioners forced to return to the UK and leave family established abroad rather than be dependent on them which then costs the UK government far more being that for a start they have to pay the going rate that was denied abroad plus any benefits that they may be able to claim not to mention the NHS and prescription charges estimated to be in the region of £4,500 per yr which is far in excess of the cost of just uprating the pension abroad.
    I have a good sense of humour and like his also but forcing 90 yr olds to move back is serious and unnecessary apart from being discriminative which if you look at the method employed it is fraud as it is based on a lie.

  8. Iwould suggest that his comment be ignored as we are talking about a serious matter which has seen thousands of pensioners forced to return to the UK and leave family established abroad rather than be dependent on them which then costs the UK government far more being that for a start they have to pay the going rate that was denied abroad plus any benefits that they may be able to claim not to mention the NHS and prescription charges estimated to be in the region of £4,500 per yr which is far in excess of the cost of just uprating the pension abroad.
    I have a good sense of humour and like his also but forcing 90 yr olds to move back is serious and unnecessary apart from being discriminative which if you look at the method employed it is fraud as it is based on a lie.

  9. I was born in 1961 and will get my pension at 66 years and 9 months.

    The whole case about the women’s pension age rise, which I have to say WASPI and Back to 60, do not tell was because in the 1980s a female doctor was dismissed from a hospital in Leicester because she was 60 but her male colleague was allowed to work until he was 65. She took her case for discrimination through the UK courts and lost because women had a different retirement age. She took it to the ECJ and won her case. The UK was told it was discrimination to have different ages for pensioners based on their genders. The UK did get told that due to the complexities of the State Pension the UK was given to 2020 to equalise it, but the UK was the one free to choose where they equalised it.

    Overnight free prescriptions became available to both genders at 60. Senior Citizens Railcard could be claimed at 60 for both genders. Men at reached 60 and were on their own or with a spouse/partner that was not working could get Pension Credit at 60 and not sign on. All means tested benefits increased once someone reached 60.

    Most people at the time realised that pensions at 60 was unaffordable and it would be around the 62 to 63.

    In 1995 the Government announced it would be 65 and the phase up with start in April 2010 and be 65 April 2020. Women born April 1950 to March 1955 would be part of the phase up. Women born from April 1955 would retire at 65. This was well publicised and there was publicity for years before the Government set the age.

    In 2007 the Labour Government said the pension would need to rise to 68 from this would be phrased up from April 2024 to April 2044. This would mean those born April 1959 would see their pension gradually increase. For me it put my pension to 66 year of age. Again, plenty of notice.

    It was the 2011 that the coalition decided to accelerate the equal age to 66 at 2020, this gave very little notice and it affected men which WASPI or Back to 60 does not recognised. It is the 2011 that needs to be changed back.

    I now retired at 66 years and 9 months.

    Like I said 1995 and 2007 plenty of notice and publicity.

  10. The single tier state retirement pension came in April 2016. Prior to that on the older scheme if a spouse if not have any pension or a very small one their spouse could claim an extra spouse allowance on their pension, although it did not give the other spouse income in their own right it did bring income into the home. The single tier pension does not have this additional payment on it.

    A lot of women retiring now often paid married women NI (aka small stamps or half stamps) and this did not count towards a pension so the extra money their spouse got compensated this. Also a lot of those women stayed at home to bring their children up.

    The spouse add-on needs to come back until we reach a time when it would not be needed as all women would have a pension.

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