Labour pledges compensation for women caught in pension trap

24 November 2019, 09:55

An estimated 3.7 million lost out financially due to changes in the state pension age
An estimated 3.7 million women lost out financially due to changes in the state pension age. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Labour has pledged compensation to more than 3 million women who lost out on years of their state pension after the retirement age was raised.

The party is promising that if they win the general election, they will settle the "debt of honour" owed to women born in the 1950s.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the proposals were designed to redress a "historic injustice".

However, the costing is not in the party's manifesto.

Labour have estimated that the promise would cost around £58 billion over five years, with individual payments averaging £15,380 running to a maximum of £31,300.

Mr McDonnell explained that it would instead be funded by a "very special arrangement, a contingency, in the same way government in the past has dealt with matters in the past like this".

The retirement age for women rose to 65 in 2018, in line with men, and will go up to 66 by 2020, and to 67 by 2028.

It follows a lengthy campaign by the "waspi women"
It follows a lengthy campaign by the "waspi women". Picture: PA

The pledge comes after a long campaign by the so-called "Waspi Women", who argue that they were given insufficient time to prepare for the changes.

Boris Johnson was challenged by one of the women in the studio audience for Friday night's Question Time special.

The Prime Minister said that while he sympathised deeply, he could not promise to "magic up that money" for them.

Mr McDonnell said: "We've prepared a scheme to compensate these women for a historical wrong.

"It's one that they were not been able to prepare for and for which they've had to suffer serious financial consequences for as a result.

He continued: "Some of them have been hit by a combination of poverty and stress, having lost out on what they had contributed towards.

"These changes were imposed upon them by a Tory-led government. So we have a historical debt of honour to them and when we go into government we are going to fulfil that debt."

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