WASPI women stage noisy walkout of Commons after minister denies them pensions help

WASPI protesters (these were in Norfolk) [Image: Eastern Daily Press.]

Proceedings in Parliament became a little noisier than usual yesterday – and for a good reason:

I’ll let Labour’s Laura Pidcock explain:

Mr Opperman had just refused to provide any transitional help for women who are facing an increase in the age at which they will be paid the state pension.

Changes to the state pension age for women were introduced in Acts of Parliament in 1995 and 2011 and mean that, by 2020, 2.6 million women will have to wait until they are 66 before receiving their pension.

Mr Opperman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “People living and staying healthier for longer is to be welcomed, but the Government must not ignore the fact that it also brings enormous financial and demographic pressures. The key choice that a Government face when seeking to control state pension spend is to increase the state pension age or pay lower pensions, with an inevitable impact on pensioner poverty. The only alternative is to ask the working generation to pay an ever larger share of their income to support pensioners.

“In July 2017 the Government published their first review of the state pension age, which set out a coherent strategy targeted at strengthening and sustaining the UK state pension system for many decades to come. It accepts the key recommendation of John Cridland’s independent review which was to increase the state pension age from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039.

“The review is clear about increasing life expectancy and the challenges it poses. People are living longer. Almost 6,000 people in the UK turned 100 in 2016, compared with 3,000 in 2002. By 2035 there will be more than twice as many people over 100 as there are now.”

It was while he was saying these words that the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) representatives in the public gallery stood up and, at first, turned their backs on Mr Opperman, before shouting “Shame on you!” and staging a mass walkout.

This Writer can sympathise. Not only was Mr Opperman quoting inaccurate statistics about longevity – people have started living shorter lives since the Conservatives came to office – but he was also wrong about an increase in the amount working-age people would be asked to spend on pensions – the National Insurance fund for Great Britain was in surplus by nearly £21 billion in October last year, while the Northern Ireland fund was half a billion pounds in surplus, and there is no reason to believe that the transitional arrangements being requested would put that fund into deficit.

One particularly strong argument in favour of transitional arrangements is the fact that the women who are being affected were not given sufficient warning of the change and will suffer considerable financial difficulty as a result.

So the WASPI women were right; Mr Opperman should be ashamed.

The debate served a useful purpose – the Commons agreed to call on the Government to publish proposals to provide a non-means tested bridging solution for all women born on or after April 6, 1950, who are affected by changes to the State Pension age in the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts.

No doubt the miserly Tories will refuse the request – they would rather provide useless tax breaks to bankers, after all – but their response will undoubtedly provide another nail in the coffin of the arrogant and incompetent minority Conservative government.

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6 thoughts on “WASPI women stage noisy walkout of Commons after minister denies them pensions help

  1. corneleus51

    The Tories are brim full of sewage. They introduced the “5 bob pension” but assured their fellow trough hoggers that hardly any working person would live to collect one penny of that. When workers left school at 15 they paid for their own pension over at least 50 years. The trouble is that these Trougholites think nothing of dipping into any pile of money in the treasury, no matter for what it is reserved. The clearest example of that was the road fund licence, which they robbed so often for “Other uses” that there was never enough in the pot for what the overburdened car driver was taxed for! It is probably the same for everything the people (whom the Tories sneeringly call “Working class”) had money set aside for.

  2. Pension60Now

    Dear Vox Political Online – Put intense pressure on this Tory government, and help get a Labour majority government (ie closest to 326 MPs elected of any party) from much rumoured 2nd early election next year, by adding the entirely omitted direct money in hand pensioner policies into Labour’s Manifesto. Need more men to sign my petition please. PETITION – Pension 60 men and women, increased state pension £200 per week. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/pension60now

  3. Jill Jervis

    If they don’t want to pay us then those who can’t find work or who are too ill to work from the old pension age of 60 should be left alone to claim benefits. That’s still a saving to the government from the state pension amount they should have been paid. I’m now 61 and on ESA but still being hounded by the DWP. Is that fair when I haven’t been able to work for the last ten years?

Comments are closed.