State Pension  

MPs to unveil solutions for Waspi plight

MPs to unveil solutions for Waspi plight

A group of MPs is going to present solutions to help women affected by an increase in the state pension age by the end of this month.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on State Pension Inequality for Women is producing a report, based on a survey of several women's groups, including the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), who claim they have been severely disadvantaged without warning by changes forcing them to work longer before receiving the state pension.

Over 100 groups representing 1950’s born women affected by changes to the state pension age took part in this consultation.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton, co-chair of the group, said in a video update that the report will be presented in a closed meeting in parliament with these groups on 25 April.

He added: “We will have a discussion to see if we can find a way forward.”

The APPG goal is that this report will feed into a private members’ Bill being put forward in parliament.

This Bill was scheduled to be presented on 27 April. But with six other documents to be debated on that day, there is now “virtually zero chances” of it being discussed by MPs on that date, Mr Loughton said.

As a result he said it was decided to pull it and find another Friday when there is greater chance of getting it in on the timetable.

“The leader of the House is due to announce additional Friday sitting dates, because there is a lot of private members going through,” he said.

However, Mr Loughton warned to the fact that discussing this Bill “doesn’t mean it is going to become law”.

He said: “We still rely on having enough votes in parliament and having enough time of the Parliamentary timetable to get it through.

“Much of the power of the timetable still remains with the government, which is still not inclined to admit they need to do something about the women’s pension issue.”

Waspi 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.

Waspi was the subject of a recent debate in December in the House of Commons, with minister for pensions and financial inclusion, Guy Opperman, saying that providing full transitional state pension arrangements to women born in the 1950s would potentially increase inequality.

Mr Opperman said: “Full compensation would represent a cost of over £77bn to the public purse.

“These changes would require new legislation, which could mean an inequality potentially being created between men and women.”

maria.espadinha@ft.com