Ahead of next week’s debate on Pensions my office has received numerous letters, especially from women, who have serious concerns over the impact of the changes being made to State Pensions. The concern is these changes are taking place over too short a timeframe to allow those affected to make alternative pension arrangements.
I understand the need for the pension age to be equal between men and women, however these major changes must have a reasonable time frame in place to allow those affected to make suitable adjustments. Constituents who I have spoken to have planned their whole life around their pension, plans that are made decades in advance.
Currently older women will have to return to work to make ends meet, as their retirement plans have been disrupted by state pension age rises, this simply isn’t fair and in many cases is not possible through ill-health or care commitments.
In addition, the Government has made no attempt to address the lifetime of low pay and inequality faced by many women born in the 1950s and now women are at risk of further hardship under the new pension system. Pensions are not benefits, they are contracts which women born in the 1950s entered into aged 17. Fundamentally the 2011 Pensions Act represents a broken contract.
A petition by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaign, which I support, has been signed by many women in Inverclyde. The petition calls on the UK Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s and has attracted more than 100,000 signatures. If you have been affected or not you can sign the petition here – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776
There needs to be better transitional arrangements for these women and I am urging the Tory government to act now.