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Plan to end state pension row

Waspi women unhappy at Labour plan

Frank FieldLabour’s plan to help women fighting a change in their state pension age has left campaigners disappointed that it does not go far enough.

The party today called on the Government to lower the retirement age for women born in the 1950s.

This would enable them to retire from 64 years of age on a reduced state pension – instead of 66 as the law currently states.

However, the Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign group have expressed disappointment that Labour’s plans do not go as far as were expected.

Debbie Abrahams, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, made the announcement during her keynote speech to party delegates.

The 1995 Pensions Act increased women’s State pension age from 60 to age 66 to bring it in line with men. Any woman due to reach age 60 before 2010 retained her pension age. Women born after 6 April 1950 saw their state pension age gradually rise until those born after 6 April 1955 had their state pension paid from age 66 just like men.

The Waspi campaign estimates that around 2.6m women have lost out because of the changes.

Labour’s new policy would grant women the ability to retire up to two years earlier.

Frank Field MP (pictured), chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: “This change in Labour’s position is a real breakthrough.

“It offers the prospect of delivering something tangible for the women of Waspi, who have been strung along for too long.

“The Work and Pensions Committee first recommended this as a practical, possible way forward 18 months ago. It is now in pole position to bring the House together on a cross-party basis to find consensus on a way forward.”

Ms Abrahams said: “Today Labour announces new proposals to end the historic injustice faced by 1950s born women.

“We are calling on the Government to immediately allow those affected by state pension age equalisation the chance to retire two years earlier at the age of 64.

“This will ensure that those who have suffered the consequences of this Government’s chaotic mismanagement of the state pension age have the security they need. We will continue to work with these women to get justice.”

Waspi director Jane Cowley expressed disappointment and said the proposals were “no better than the actuarial reduced pension suggested some time ago and rejected by the Waspi campaign”.

She said the proposal includes an element of means testing and does not include compensation for those who have lost out.

However, she said campaigners have “taken comfort” from Labour sharing the women’s concerns.

“We remain unclear as to what the Labour party position is [but] we are grateful for their pledge to work directly with Waspi women.”

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