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State pension age battle: the women affected
A parliamentary debate over state pension age rises may not have provided a solution but did highlight the plight of those women affected.
by Michelle McGagh on Feb 03, 2016 at 09:57
After collecting over 135,000 signatures on their e-petition the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) brought their fight to Westminster for a three-hour debate on what could be done to help those hit by a double increase in their state pension age.
The petition, which needed over 100,000 signatures to be debated in the commons, called on the government to ‘make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6 April 1951 who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the state pension age’.
However, the original wording of the petition has been changed to reflect a softening of the Waspi stance. The original called for the women to be ‘put in exactly the same financial position they would have been’ in if they had been born on or before 5 April 1950.
Despite the Waspi’s new stance the government still won’t capitulate. Shailesh Vara, under-secretary of state for work and pensions, told MPs and members of Waspi at the commons debate that ‘no one can say that the changes have not been fully considered’.
‘The parliamentary process was fully followed,’ he said.
In its response to the e-petition, the government said: 'The government will not be revisiting the state pension age arrangements for women affected by the 1995 or 2011 acts.'
While the outcome is disappointing for the women, what the debate did do was shed light on the stories of the women hit by the double increase in the state pension age, from 60 to 65 in 1995 under equalisation reform and then from 65 to 66 as the state pension age was linked to longevity in 2011.
MPs used the opportunity to highlight the plight of their constituents and the hardships they face due to the delay in their state pension age.
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