Andrew Neil confronted Jeremy Corbyn earlier this week on spending plans outlined in the Labour Party manifesto. The BBC veteran broadcaster grilled the Labour leader on the billions of taxpayers’ money he is using to fund his major nationalisation policies and his latest proposal to compensate the WASPI women with their pensions. On Thursday evening, a BBC Question Time audience member further probed Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald on how Labour will fund the plan.
He said: “So Labour has been talking about the grey book a lot saying you’ve costed everything. You keep making offers to our kind of people in a way to get votes.
“For example the WASPI women, good for them that they’ve been fighting for it, but Labour cannot fund it properly. How would you define that?”
Mr McDonald began: “Well it’s a moral obligation. These women lost out, it’s their entitlement, and we’ve got to take measures about that.”
BBC host Fiona Bruce cut in: “But he’s not disputing, he’s asking how would you fund it.”
The Labour politician said: “It’s a one-off, you either get it from reserves, and if reserves aren’t sufficient – “
Journalist Zanny Minton Beddoes interjected “£58billion”, as Mr McDonald continued: “Over five years, but it’s a moral obligation, those women paid into the system and they were cheated.
“The deal was changed on them. They were looking forward to retirement, their plans were turned upside down. It’s a moral duty of this country to put that wrong right, and it cannot continue.”
Ahead of the General Election 2019, party manifestos have been launched. The Labour Party has pledged support for women affected by the state pension age changes.
“We will ensure that such an injustice can never happen again by legislating to prevent accrued rights to the state pension from being changed.”
The Liberal Democrats also pledged to ensure that women affected by the state pension age changes are “properly compensated”, adding that this would be “in line with the recommendations of the parliamentary ombudsman”.
The manifesto commitment on support for pensioners read: “We will: Retain the Triple Lock on the basic state pension, so that it rises in line with the highest of wages, prices or 2.5 per cent.
“Ensure that the women born in the 1950s are properly compensated for the failure of government to properly notify them of changes to the state pension age, in line with the recommendations of the parliamentary ombudsman.
“Address continuing inequalities in pensions law for those in same-sex relationships.”