The Labour Party in Blackpool: NEC defeated over pensions

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Labour's leadership suffered its first defeat of the week as the conference voted for a big increase in pensions and for pension age to be equalized at 60.

Appeals from the national executive for the resolution to be remitted - in part because pensions will be covered in the Commision on Social Justice that John Smith plans - were rejected in an overwhelming show of hands.

The move, backed by the shopworkers' union Usdaw, asked Labour to press the Government to back the call of the National Pensioners Convention - headed by Jack Jones, the former Transport and General Workers' Union general secretary - for state pensions to rise to a half of average gross earnings for a couple, and one third for single people.

Moves for equality in both state and occupational pensions should be achieved by the normal retirement age for men - and not at the expense of women's entitlements, the conference resolved.