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Labour’s Abrahams outlines ‘socialist pension policy’

Shadow secretary for work and pensions Debbie Abrahams outlines her vision, saying every citizen should have a stake in society.

Labour’s Abrahams outlines ‘socialist pension policy’

Shadow secretary for work and pensions Debbie Abrahams has outlined her vision of a ‘socialist pension policy’ at the Labour Party conference.

Abrahams, who took on the job after a raft of shadow cabinet resignations prompted by the Brexit vote, made clear her policy position in Liverpool this week following Jeremy Corbyn’s emphatic re-election as the party's leader.

‘I am a socialist. I believe that society is stronger – can achieve more – when we stand together, and that every citizen has an equal stake in our future,’ she said.

When asked by Citywire for more details, Abrahams said a socialist pension policy is based around inclusion and is fair for all.

‘A socialist pension policy is making sure people have some dignity in retirement. [A policy] that is going to make sure there aren’t groups that are left behind, women and people in low income jobs are particularly at risk.

‘Also people in temporary or part-time work, these were the areas we thought we had protected in the last Labour government through the Pensions Act but the government has now eroded. If you look at auto-enrolment and who is included or not in this; we are trying to protect women, protect people who have been in low paid work and the government is eroding this. So we need a fair pension policy.’

Central to Abrahams’ pension vision is support for the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) movement, which is campaigning against increases to the state pension age (SPA). She met with a group of  Waspi protesters outside the conference, pledging her commitment to their campaign.

On state pensions, Abrahams said there needed to be a rethink over how SPA is calculated and said that basing the SPA on life expectancies was an ‘outdated metric’. However, she would not commit to saying if she would like to see a non-universal SPA or a means-tested system.

On the state pension triple lock, that sees payments rise by the higher of prices, wages or 2.5%, Abrahams said she wanted to see this go on for as long as possible, but would not say whether Labour supports this past 2020.

Abrahams said that she ‘absolutely recognises inter-generational unfairness’ in the system, and the economic burdens facing the younger generation.

She also did not comment on what she would like to see with regards to pension tax relief, and if she supported a move to a flat-rate system or even an age-based system which Labour MP Steve McCabe announced his support for during the conference.

‘We don’t know when the next election is. I’ve given you a direction of travel and I would not make any commitments until I am done with my financial analysis,’ she said.

Labour has not yet appointed a new pensions minister since Angela Rayner was appointed shadow education secretary.

Abrahams said that Labour was still ‘working on’ finding a new shadow pensions minister.

5 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Denis Parkinson

Sep 28, 2016 at 17:51

How can it be that life expectancies are an out dated metric, people need pension income whilst they are alive. Is it being suggested pensions should stop before people die or carry on after they have died ?

I believe the lady's previous career was as a public health consultant, obviously well qualified in the area of pensions.

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Peter Rigg

Sep 29, 2016 at 08:15

The headline is misleading.She has said nothing.Why do you report this nonsense?

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Sep 29, 2016 at 09:03

You get the impression that she doesn't actually understand how the pensions system and welfare system interact. The reason that the low paid, part time employees aren't auto enrolled is because they would be paying contributions and not being any better off in retirement due to the means testing. To be fair to her, she would probably have been about 25th choice for this role, so why should we expect any knowledge of the subject

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colin overton

Sep 30, 2016 at 09:08

"‘We don’t know when the next election is. I’ve given you a direction of travel and I would not make any commitments until I am done with my financial analysis,’ she said."

One thing we do know is that this Ms is wasting paper and her breath as Labour will not win the next election. I don't see The Commissar resigning after only one general election defeat, 8 more glorious years, An Old Labour voter.

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geoffrey mulford

Oct 02, 2016 at 17:11

I find her comments quite worrying. She is banging on about fairness to women. Anybody would think that it was women that had to work an extra 5 years. What about a payment of £40,000 to all men in retirement to compensate them for the 5 year of missed pension payments.

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