The Labour Party intends to introduce an early retirement option for the group of women particularly affected by the state pension age changes.
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow secretary of state for work and pensions promised that her party will allow women, who are currently penalised by the acceleration of women’s state pension equalization, to retire up to two years early.
This will enable them to retire when they are 64-years-old - instead of 66.
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton yesterday (25 September), she used her speech to challenge to the current government to do the same now.
Ms Abrahams said: “A Labour government will transform our social security system from one that demonises, to one that is supportive and enabling.
“Like the NHS, it should be there for any one of us in our time of need, providing dignity and security for all.
“For older people, this Tory government has provided anything but dignity and security. Their failure to grapple with the pensions system has left many with dwindling workplace pensions or worse.
“The acceleration of women’s state pension equalisation by this government has left hundreds of thousands of women in dire straits.
“I can announce that a Labour government in power now, would allow these women to retire up to two years early.”
This comes after she spoke of a rise in the number of women in their 60s who are forced to ‘sofa-surf’ and live off the kindness of family or friends because they have used up all their savings as they can no longer do the work they used to.
She said: “These women feel understandable anger that they have done the right thing and that the government has failed to deliver its side of the bargain. I have been meeting with them on my national pensions tour.
“We promised in our Manifesto to provide pension credit and additional support to the two and a half million 1950s women still waiting to retire.”
She also used her speech to highlight how the United Nations’ committee on the rights of persons with disabilities recently reported that the current Government’s policies were leading to a ‘human catastrophe’.
She said: “Increasingly, sick and disabled people are facing poverty and isolation. Many feel like prisoners in their own homes; with dwindling social security support, too many are dying early, and even taking their own lives.
“There can be nothing more unjust than knowing how long we live is determined by inequality in income, wealth and social position. It doesn’t have to be this way. We are the fifth richest country in the world.
“As our Manifesto set out, the next Labour government, will make different choices, fairer choices.”
Frank Field MP, chairman of the work and pensions select committee, said: “This change in Labour’s position is a real breakthrough. It offers the prospect of delivering something tangible for the women of WASPI, who have been strung along for too long.