Setback for campaign
Crabb dashes hopes over women’s state pension age
New Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb (pictured) has ruled out reversing the change which will mean women having to wait longer for their state pension.
Women born between April 1951 and 1960 will have to wait for up to six extra years to claim the payout they believe they were expecting from the age of 60.
Many say they were not made aware of the change which was ratified in legislation in 2011.
It had been hoped that a compromise could be reached that would enable those affected to draw their pension in phases.
This was proposed by the Work and Pensions Committee chaired by Frank Field, which said its plans would be ‘fiscally neutral’.
But Mr Crabb, who was promoted into the Cabinet post after Iain Duncan Smith’s dramatic resignation in March, rejected the committee’s proposals. He said: “I don’t see there is a do-able policy solution.”
He said he had discussed the committee’s plans with some of the women affected. “When I have discussed that, some of the women have said that’s not actually what they want.”
He said: “It is just fiscally impossible,” adding that it was “irresponsible for anyone in this House of Commons to try to pretend, or lead these women into thinking there’s an easy decision to be made.”
Members of the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) said they were disappointed, but remain hopeful that a solution can be found. More than 200 of its members and supporters have written to Daily Business criticising the government over the policy.
The Pensions Minister, Ros Altmann, only recently admitted that she did not hold out a lot of hope of reaching any sort of compromise.
Marion Smulders, a co-founder of Waspi, said: “I am disappointed, but still hopeful.
“There is a cross-party parliamentary group on this. I trust they will have further contact with Stephen Crabb, and hope he will re-visit this.”
She said a lot of women affected would have been happy with the compromise suggested by the Work and Pensions Committee, although it would not be acceptable for everybody.