Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders called on the Government to introduce transitional arrangements for women impacted by changes to the State Pension age in a parliamentary debate on 1st February.
The debate took place after an online petition, launched by campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), received over 100,000 signatures.
Following a change in the law in 2011, women are having their state pension age raised by up to 18 months as part of plans to make it 66 by 2020, bringing it in line with that of men. This followed an earlier change in 1995, increasing the age from 60 to 65.
Many of the women affected had been unaware of both the 1995 and the 2011 legislation, and only found out about their later retirement age after being contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions shortly before their 60th birthdays. WASPI argue that this left them unable to adapt their retirement plans quickly enough to cover the years their state pension payments would be effectively delayed by. The campaigners are calling on the government to provide “fair transitional arrangements.”
In the debate, Justin labelled the treatment of the women an ‘injustice that is indefensible’ and called on the government to undertake a u-turn. He also drew the attention of the house to three local cases of local residents who will lose out as a result of the changes.
Speaking after the debate, Justin said:
“Nobody objects to the idea of equalising the state pension age, but the way that these changes have been implemented is fundamentally unfair and ministers need to act urgently.
I have spoken to women who have worked all their lives planning to retire at 60, only to be then be told that the goalposts had been moved. Many have already taken irreversible decisions like taking early retirement, while others are in very poor health.
It is now widely acknowledged that these women weren’t properly communicated with in 1995 when the original change was made and that the measures weren’t widely reported in the media. This injustice needs to be addressed and I won’t give up supporting the campaigners until transitional measures are introduced.”