A campaign that my Labour colleagues and I are fighting for is the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.
I agree that the Coalition Government’s decision to accelerate the rise in women’s state pension age had a devastating impact on many women who were born in the 1950s, some of whom are now facing real hardship as a result. They did not have enough notice of the changes to plan for their new circumstances and the impact has been made worse by the Government’s failure to communicate the changes.
I have been extremely disappointed that the Government has not acted on the injustices placed upon WASPI women and believe it should look again at what more can be done to help.
Proposals to put an end to the hardship should be brought forward to help us move to a fair solution, and in the meantime, support should be given to the most vulnerable. I support the idea that Pension Credit should be extended to those who were due to retire before the Coalition Government’s pension age increase. This would alleviate the worst of the impacts for the most vulnerable women, and restore some of the dignity that many of them feel has been taken away. It would provide support worth up to £155 per week to half a million of the most vulnerable WASPI women.
Our pensions system should ensure dignity in retirement, and properly reflect the contribution to our society that older people have made, and continue to make. I am committed to protecting the triple-lock and pensioner benefits, such as the TV license, bus passes and the winter fuel allowance.
I will continue to press the Government to deliver on its promise to look at transitional arrangements and measures to help the women who have been disadvantaged.