Barbara led a debate in Westminster on issues for women born in the 1950s affected by equalisation of the state pension age. In the debate Barbara called on the Conservative Government to bring in transitional protection for the women affected by the changes.
Opening the debate she requested in Westminster, Barbara said millions of women have seen their state pension age increase at short notice or without notification personally. Some of the women affected have seen their state pension age increase by as much as 6 years, with little or no warning from the Government.
Under the 1995 Pensions Act, the Government decided that the pension ages of both men and women would be equalised by 2020. The Government then accelerated the changes in the 2011 Pensions Act, breaking a pledge they had made in 2010.
“Women born in the 1950s and affected by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011 have been treated badly by the Conservative-led Government. They have not been properly informed of the changes and not given the time to prepare for them. They are unfairly bearing the burden and the personal costs of the increases in state pension age.
“Millions of women have been affected across the country, including a number of women in Worsley and Eccles South. One constituent told me she is 61 years old and has worked since she was 15. She has osteoarthritis and has had a knee replacement. Her retirement age has been changed three times and now she cannot apply for her pension until 2019. Another woman told me she has given up work at age 62 to care for her mother and brother, both of whom have dementia. Her only source of income is a small private pension and her husband will now have to support her until she is 65. She told me she had only found out about her changed State Pension Age when she looked it up online.
“Many of the women affected are living in real financial hardship and feel betrayed by the Government. The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan-Smith, said repeatedly at Westminster that he would look at transitional protection for the women affected but this was not put in place. I have urged the Minister to look at bringing in transitional protection to help the many women who are struggling financially due to the changes in pension age.”