State Pension 

Field puts pressure on DWP over Waspi

Field puts pressure on DWP over Waspi

Independent Labour MP Frank Field has asked the pensions minister what action is he taking regarding women affected by state pension age changes, as "the time to right this injustice is quickly slipping by".

In a letter to Guy Opperman, the chairman of the Work and Pensions committee said according to analysis by the House of Commons Library, about 240,000 women affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts have now reached state pension age and the number was growing fast.

He said: "There are around 300,000 in the most affected cohort—born between 6 December 1953 and 5 October 1954 whose wait for state pension age was extended by 18 months—who will begin to reach state pension age from March 2019.

"From then, approximately 30,000 women will move over that threshold every two months. If anything is to be done to mitigate the consequences of changes to the state pension age for affected women, it surely must be before March next year".

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) movement has been campaigning against these changes, claiming 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 had been implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

Mr Field asked Mr Opperman to confirm whether the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was currently working on any plans to mitigate the consequences of the changes to state pension age for affected women.

He also questioned if it was considering as an option that affected women be able to draw their state pension early, at an actuarially neutral rate, as it was recommended by the Work and Pensions committee in 2016.

Mr Opperman has so far ruled out addressing this issue several times, arguing making changes to state pension age arrangements for women born in the 1950s would cost more than £70bn.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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