personal finance

State pension: WASPI respond as Amber Rudd ‘sceptical’ about Boris supplying extra funds

The state pension age for women rose from 60 to 65 in recent years, reaching state pension parity between men and women back in November 2018. The state pension is now rising for both men and women, with this set to reach 66 in October 2020. In the Conservative Party leadership hustings in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, earlier this month, Boris Johnson said that he would “commit to doing everything I possibly can to sorting out” the issue, according to reports. However, the MP, who has since become the Prime Minister, is not said to have made a firm commitment on the matter.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd said that she was “slightly sceptical” about his pledge.

At an event hosted by the Politico website earlier this month, Ms Rudd was asked about the Conservative politician’s comments.

She told the Mirror: “I’m slightly sceptical at holding out hope for any additional support for WASPI women… people who feel they have lost out by the rising pension age and claim, believe, they haven’t been told in time about it.

“At the moment the Treasury has been very resistant to supplying any additional funds.

“We will see whether a new Prime Minister takes a different view. But at the moment there is no prospect of that changing.”

The MP continued: “As I’m sure you’re aware, there was a move to make a contribution a few years ago – so there was some top up to the existing position.

“I didn’t hear Boris, I’m afraid, make that statement. I haven’t been totally faithful to watching all the hustings, but I will subsequently take a look.”

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She said: “Generally speaking, people are pro equality – as are we. However, we will be looking for a fair equality.

“50s women have suffered lifelong inequity, like the pension gap, the pay gap, the maternity gap. It’s like, ‘Mind the Gap’.

“You’d have to be a 50s woman to actually understand these gaps.

“Women weren’t even entitled to occupational pensions. It was seriously as bad as that.

“That’s been identified in Parliament – that 50s women have been grotesquely disadvantaged throughout their lives and also that this must be addressed and sorted out.

“[Backto60 is] pro equality, but we want a fair equality.”

In a statement ahead of the judicial review taking place last month, a spokesperson for the DWP said: “The government decided more than 20 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality, and this has been clearly communicated.

“People are living longer so we need to raise the age at which all of us can draw a State Pension so it is sustainable now and for future generations.”


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