Campaigners have claimed a major victory after MPs unanimously voted by 158 to 0 to help women hit by state pension age rises.
The House of Commons debate centred around the fact that some 2.6 million women had their state pension age delayed – in some cases twice, and by up to six years in total – without proper notice, leaving them no time to prepare adequately for their later retirement date. Women's state pension age was 60 but is increasing to 66 by 2020, in line with rising life expectations, a change that many weren't informed of.
Launching the debate, SNP MP Mhaira Black urged the government to introduce transitional arrangements to help the women affected. She pointed out it affected women across the country and from all classes and said women were being "shafted and short changed" purely because of their gender and their birthdate.
Among a number of MPs speaking in support of the motion, Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck said “the Government knows about the pension problems but seems content to let women continue to suffer.”
Legislation was initially passed in 1995 with a second change introduced in 2011. The women argue that they weren’t informed of the change in their retirement age.
After the three-hour debate, Anne Keen, co-founder of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) said: “That the motion was unanimously carried by a vote of 158 to 0 is an embarrassment to the Government’s position, and especially the intransigence of the Minister.”
WASPI’s online petition at the Parliamentary website to compensate women born in the 1950s who are facing a higher pension age than they expected passed the 107,000 mark yesterday. That could lead to a fresh Commons debate.