As you may be aware, the Pensions Act 1995 provided for the State Pension Age for women to increase from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government legislated in the Pensions Act 2011 to accelerate this timetable so that State Pension Age for women reached 66 by October 2020.
What should have been gradual changes became very steep changes and it has become clear that women affected were not informed and so were not able to make adequate provision for a rise of up to 6 years in the State Pension Age.
I voted against these changes and since I discovered the impact of the acceleration of changes to the State Pension Age on women born in the 1950s I have been committed to supporting their cause.
I was among the first MPs in the country to campaign with women to fight against these unjust changes to the State Pension Age for them. I stood with a group of 1950s-born women in the carpark at Morrison’s in Eccles in late 2015 and we raised awareness among the women it affected and collected signatures for our petition calling on the Conservative Government to stop this unfair and sudden change to the State Pension Age for 1950s-born women.
I led the very first Parliamentary debate on this issue and has spoken in many debates since to support the campaign. I co-founded the All Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women with my colleague, Andrew Gwynne MP, and over 120 MPs joined the group on the first day. Andrew and I were then elected as the first Co-Chairs of the group.
I have been contacted by many constituents who have been affected by this pensions injustice and I have raised their issues in Parliament and in meetings with Government Ministers.
It was disappointing that the recent case in the High Court ruled against the women who sought to prove the injustice in a legal case.
I believe that 1950s-born women have been disadvantaged in terms of pay and pensions for many years. They deserve better after a lifetime of work and paying into the system. They deserve proper consideration of that lifetime of work and of their National Insurance contributions.
I am committed to continuing to support the campaign until we get Pensions Justice for 1950s-born women.