State pension age changes: WASPI women ‘deserve justice’ says MP amid call for support

WASPI women have been left ‘high and dry’ says David Linden

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The Government was urged to provide support to women impacted by the state pension age changes in the House of Commons this week. The new Work and Pensions spokesperson for the Scottish National Party (SNP) David Linden addressed the matter during a debate on Pensions.

Among his statement in the Commons chamber, the MP for Glasgow East first of all addressed the issue known as frozen pensions – which affects around half a million pensioners who live overseas but can’t receive an uprated state pension each year.

“It is not just overseas pensioners who face injustice when it comes to UK pensions policy,” Mr Linden said.

“Women here at home continue to be impacted by the changes to the state pension age.

“Like other parties, we in the SNP support the principle of equalisation of the state pension age, but we have long had concerns about the way in which it has been done.

“The WASPI women have been left high and dry by a British Government who continue to adopt an ostrich policy when called upon to provide fair transitional arrangements.

“So we in the SNP will always call for the WASPI women to be supported, and remind Ministers that it is not too late to act on that.”

In the past, the state pension age for women was 60, and 65 for men.

Moves to equalise the state pension age came into force under the Pensions Act 1995, and the changes were then accelerated under the Pensions Act 2011.

It meant in November 2018, the state pension age for women reached 65, the same as men.

This is ahead of further increases to the state pension age, some of which have now come into force.

In October 2020, the state pension age reached 66 – but more changes are ahead.

Under the Pensions Act 2014, the state pension age for men and women will rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

A timetable for changes from 67 to 68 has also been published, with this being based on current law.

The campaign group WASPI does not oppose the equalisation of the state pension age, but argues against the way in which the changes were brought into force.

WASPI is calling for “fair transitional payments” for those women who have been affected by the changes.

A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality and this has been clearly communicated.

“Raising state pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”

For those who are unsure what their state pension age will be amid the changes, there is an online tool which could help.

The “Check your State Pension age” service on the GOV.UK website can not only tell the user when they will reach state pension age, but also Pension Credit qualifying age and when they will be eligible for free bus travel.

The website warns: “The state pension age is under review and may change in the future.”

Meanwhile, to check the amount of how much one will be able to get when they claim the state pension, the “State Pension forecast” tool can be used.

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