Thursday 3 October 2019 / 12:10 PM Jack Dromey / Work and Pensions

1950s women were let down by government pension changes – Jack Dromey responds

Commenting on the High Court decision on 1950s women affected by the raising of the state pension age, Jack Dromey MP, Shadow Pensions Minister, said:

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes. They will understandably be very disappointed by today’s finding.

“Labour has already made commitments to support women affected, including by extending Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women. We will consult further with the 1950s women affected as to what future support we can put in place once in government to help ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”

The application to the court raised matters arising from the government policy of equalisation of the pension ages and its impact on women born in the 1950s, including the taper mechanism used to raise the State Pension Age, in combination with a failure to properly inform women of the changes.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women affected, said:

“They have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine.

“They’re on the brink of survival, and I’m not overstating that. This group – especially the percentage of the group affected born in 1953 onwards – are increasingly having taken away from them four to six years’ worth of state pension. We’re dealing with very serious sums: £37,000 to £47,000. I think any citizen would be concerned by that withdrawal.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

  •  The WASPI campaign was set up to campaign on the issue of State Pension age (SPA) increases affecting women born in the 1950s. The Pensions Act 1995 legislated for it to increase from 60 to 65 over the period 2010 to 2020. The Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the latter part of this increase, starting in April 2016 when it was 63, so that it would reach 65 in November 2018 and then increase to 66 by October 2020.
  • More recently, campaigners have been encouraging women who think they were not adequately informed about changes affecting them to complain to DWP’s Independent Case Examiner and then to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. However, these complaints had been put on hold, pending the outcome of the judicial review.
  • In addition to the manifesto commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.
  • Labour will legislate so that accrued rights to the basic state pension cannot be changed, but future benefits can.
  • The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. We will commission a new review of the pension age, specifically    tasked with developing a flexible retirement policy to respect both the contributions made by people, wide variations in life expectancy and the arduous conditions of some work.