Pensions expert and director general of SAGA Ms Ros Almann has charged MPs of failing half a million women, after politicians failed to debate transitional arrangements for changes in the state pension age for women.
She wondered why during the latest debate on the Pensions Bill in parliament, the proposed “transition arrangements” were not discussed, which according to her, would have mitigated the unfairness caused by the bill regarding women’s retirement age changes.
“Many of those affected do not even know and there are only a few years to go. Women in their late 50s, who have been singled out to bear the brunt of the government’s plans to save money on state pensions, have been offered no relief,” lamented Ms Altmann.
“Worryingly, it became clear in the committee debate that many of those who will be affected do not even yet know what will happen and there are only five or six years left before the changes start, added Ms Altmann.
Shadow pensions minister Ms Rachel Reeves, who had opposed the changes in its current form before, raised the issue during the debate in the House of Commons.
Pensions minister Steve Webb however, countered this saying the government had considered alternative transitional arrangements, but failed to come up with an alternative.
“If we then scuttled away and presented our transitional amendments to the committee, the committee would have asked ‘where was the consultation,”, argued Mr. Webb.
“Instead, we have come to the committee and, given the process we have, opposition members had the chance to come forward with fresh thinking on transition. What do we have in front of us? The amendment that they tabled in the House of Lords, which has already been rejected?”, he asked.
“Of course there will be a chance for more changes in the report stage of the Pensions Bill in the autumn, but why make these women wait and worry even longer?”, wondered Ms Altmann.