State Pension 

MP produces plan to solve Waspi pension problem

MP produces plan to solve Waspi pension problem

Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd is calling for the government to abandon its plan to cut corporation tax to 17 per cent by 2020 and use that money to help women affected by an increase in the state pension age.

Mr Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, and frontbench spokesman on work and pensions, said: “I have a strong hunch that many corporations would actually be quite happy to forgo the tax, if only for 12 months, to ensure these women get a fair and justified sum to compensate them for their pension age being hiked by six years."

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) movement claims that while the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women's state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The group also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

Alan Brown, Scottish National Party MP, questioned the minister for pensions and financial inclusion, Guy Opperman, on this matter yesterday (18 December) in Parliament.

He said: "Figures I received from the House of Commons Library show that tax giveaways on things such as inheritance tax and corporation tax will cost the Treasury over £60bn by 2025.

"Should a caring minister and secretary of state not argue that, instead of giving money to the rich, they could use it for transitional arrangements and ending austerity?"

Mr Opperman dismissed the question.

He said: "We have differing views on taxation. The government believe that cuts to corporation tax assist job creation - the jobs we need to pay for the public services we have."

This subject was debated for several hours last week in the House of Commons, with Mr Opperman saying that providing full transitional state pension arrangements to women born in the 1950s would potentially increase inequality.

The petition which originated the debate, was launched by Labour MP Grahame Morris’, and had very similar terms to the first request launched by Waspi and discussed in Parliament last year.

He said: "We are creating an unnecessary generation of women many of them relying on food banks, some of whom forced to sell their homes and forced to rely on the benefits system, [this] is degrading for them."

In November, it was revealed that the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman has intervened to speed up responses to complaints from Waspi against the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), regarding what they call an inadequate communication of changes to the state pension age.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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