Scott Mann MP has asked the government to help women in North Cornwall who will be affected by changes to the State Pension age.
Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate triggered by a Parliamentary petition which attracted over 135,000 signatures, Scott asked the government to consider implementing transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s as well as further consultation on how they will be affected alongside the new Single Tier Pension.
The changes will significantly affect women born in the 1950s after legislation was passed in 2011 to speed up plans to equalise the state pension age for men and women. Some will have to wait an additional 18 months to receive their state pension.
Speaking in the debate, Scott said:
“I agree with the Government equalising the state pension age and saving billions for the taxpayer, but the change has been brought in rather bluntly.
“Ladies sitting in the Public Gallery and many others across the country have been affected by the issue and have made a full and active contribution to their national insurance contributions. It is right that their opinions are listened to.”
Scott recognised that the government was speeding up the changes to save £30 billion, but in light of the Work & Pensions Select Committee stating that prior consultation by the DWP was inadequate, Scott asked the government to conduct more in-depth consultation and to consider transitional arrangements.
“I simply urge the Government and the Minister to pause and consider another way of facilitating the changes that would be fairer for the taxpayer and the women in North Cornwall who are set to lose thousands of pounds as a result of something they have little control over.
“I further urge the Minister and his Department to consider the Select Committee’s findings and to contact all women affected, laying out how they will each be affected by the age changes, how they will benefit from the new single-tier pension, and on balance, how they will be positively or negatively affected.”
Speaking on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary Shailesh Vara said:
“We cannot look at the changes to women’s state pension age without also acknowledging the significant changes in life expectancy in recent years, the huge progress made in opening up employment opportunities for women and the wider package of reforms.
“The Government have a duty to ensure the sustainability of the state pension scheme, and it would be irresponsible to ignore such developments. Employment prospects for women have changed dramatically since the state pension age was first set in 1940. The most recent figures show a record female employment rate of 69.1%, with more than 1 million more women in work than in 2010.
“The Government recognise the huge contribution that older workers make to the workforce and the country, and we are working with stakeholders to ensure that they recognise those benefits.”