Women's state pension age changes to be debated in Parliament
Following the online petition to demand fairer transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s and negatively affected by the rapidly changing state pension age (SPA), the Parliamentary Petitions Committee has granted a parliamentary debate to be held on 1 February.
The petition, launched by the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), secured more than 100,000 signatures and prompted a debate in the House of Commons last week (Thursday 7 January) on the equalisation of the SPA for women. This followed an initial debate in Westminster Hall before Christmas.
However, Tom McPhail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, comments that the previous debates 'were notable for the almost complete absence of any meaningful engagement from the government'.
The right decision
Earlier this week, the Department for Work and Pensions Select Committee in its interim report on the SPA changes also demanded, as a matter of urgency, that the government makes changes to the information being sent out to people approaching retirement age.
The problem is not with the changes to state pension age per se, but with the unsatisfactory way in which information about the changes have been communicated to many of the women affected.
McPhail says: 'This is absolutely the right decision. The weight and momentum which this campaign has gathered warrants a full and considered response from the government.
'The government may believe that no policy adjustments should be made; however, it should come to parliament, enter into debate and make its case.
'As part of this process, it should be possible to explore the options and costs of any potential transitional arrangement; without this debate, the obvious sense of injustice felt by many of these campaigners will only poison the forthcoming roll out of the new state pension in April.'