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Liberal Democrats support campaign by women in "pensions trap"

July 8, 2016 4:28 PM

A review of the changes to the state pension arrangements, including the impact of the age changes, is set to be published in May 2017, said Cllr Robin Ashby. So now is an appropriate time to make representations to Government, even though its reaction to 193,000 petition signatories was to say in February it had no plans to alter state pension ages.

It's worth recalling that the biggest part of the changes - to increase the pension age for women to 65 - were set out in 1995, but that the Labour Government of 1997-2010 did nothing about the issue of perceived unfairness.

I suppose we can't entirely blame ministers. The former Liberal Democrat Minister Steve Webb has said that the decision in 2011 to accelerate the process and stage increase for both men and women to 66 by 2020 was wrong - and that "very poor" briefing by civil servants about the full implications of it was to blame, and that the measures were rushed through.

On learning a few months later how the policy would affect people, and that some women would after all have to wait more than one extra year for their pensions, he lobbied the Prime Minister and the Chancellor for some relief. As a result, £1 billion was set aside for mitigation.

We should also note that a former Tory minister campaigning on the issue has had no effect whatsoever on his colleagues.

I hope that more of those affected in Newcastle tell us of their circumstances so the Council can make a robust argument to Government, and I support the motion.