Yesterday, I voted in favour of the motion to implement transitional measures to help women who are facing hardship through the Government’s moves to equalise the State Pension Age (SPA) between men and women.
The equalisation of the SPA has had a devastating impact on many women who were born in the 1950s, some of whom are now facing real hardship as a result. In 2011 Iain Duncan Smith made a commitment to look at transitional provisions to help the women who have been hit hardest by changes to SPA but he has never made good on that promise.
The Coalition Government moved the goalposts for women born in the 1950s by accelerating the rise in women’s SPA. As a result they did not have enough notice of changes and could not plan their new circumstances. This has been further exacerbated by the Governments failure to communicate changes.
Yesterday’s vote resulted in 158 MPs voting for transitional measures to 0 against. This shows the Government that the Commons wants transitional arrangements to be put in place now.
I will be deeply disappointed if the Government ignore this vote. But signs so far are they will. The Pensions Minister was unresponsive throughout the debate to impassioned pleas. This is a motion and therefore non-binding for the Government, but no one voted with the Government so it is only right that they follow Parliaments will.
I agree that the equalisation of the State Pension is the right thing to do. But what is not right is to leave thousands of women without the support they need to adapt to the changing system. Especially when these changes are being accelerated.