Peter Aldous calls on the Government for full review of pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s

29th November 2017

Peter Aldous calls on the Government to carry out a full, proper and meaningful review of pension transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have been adversely affected by the acceleration of the increase to the state pension age.

We have debated this matter on numerous occasions. It is important that it is not used for the purpose of political expediency, because many people are experiencing serious challenges. We must listen to them and seek to address their concerns in a way that is responsible and financially prudent, but also just and fair.

I have received a great deal of correspondence over the past two years from constituents who have graphically highlighted the challenge that they face. When many of us presented petitions in the Chamber last autumn, I was in second place behind the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) for the number of people who had signed, as the Waveney petition was signed by just under 2,250. It was also endorsed unanimously by Conservative-run Waveney District Council.

The impact of the changes is being felt disproportionately in areas of the UK where there has been a tradition of women going out to work—whether in factories, agriculture, fishing, food processing or clerical posts—often part time and not on high salaries. The changes are affecting a lot of women and their families in Lowestoft in my constituency, although many of the businesses in which they worked are no longer there. There used to be, for example, numerous jobs in the fishing support industry and the Sanyo television factory, to name but two.

I acknowledge the challenges that the Government face in addressing those injustices and in coming up with a fair and affordable solution that complies with equalities legislation. I urge them to look carefully at that. There are two private Members’ Bills before Parliament that propose a review of the pension arrangements. One is promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) and the other has been presented by the hon. Member for Swansea East (Carolyn Harris). I am a supporter of the latter Bill, and I urge the Government to consider carrying out a full, proper and meaningful review. For that reason, I will not support the motion tonight, because I do not believe that it provides the evidence base that we need to find a fair, affordable and just solution.

As I have mentioned, this issue disproportionately affects specific parts of the country. I thus ask the Government to carry out research to establish the extent of this problem and to come up with a fair and affordable solution that addresses the pockets of the country in which there is a real issue.

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