Pensions: Government u-turn means women are still missing out

Older women, pensioner poverty, national insurance rules… it’s not the most festive topic, which may be why the Government’s Scrooge-like u-turn on the issue has not got much coverage. Women who have taken time out of making pension contributions because of time caring for their families lose out. Add this to women’s lower earnings and longer life-spans and it’s a triple whammy. To give them some credit, the Labour government is moving towards pensions equality. But its transitional arrangements are unfair. Women who turn 60 before 6th April 2010, will continue to lose out. Hence my campaign for fairness on women’s pensions.

Peers voted in the summer to allow women to catch up by buying up to 9 years’ extra National Insurance contributions. But now the Government has rejected that proposal. As Jackie Ashley wrote in last week’s Guardian, it’s “a mean U-turn on women’s pensions, something that will save the Treasury a little cash at the cost of poverty in old age for hundreds of thousands of women”. Ms Ashley, one of Labour’s own, goes on to call the decision “an important and woeful failure. It takes Labour in precisely the wrong direction, heading away from the human trouble it was elected to salve.”

Meanwhile Steve Webb’s campaigns, to highlight the entitlement of thousands of women to pensions, are needed more than ever.

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2 Comments »

  1. jockox3 said

    it’s not the most festive topic

    But it is apt. 366 days tomorrow will be the centenary of the first old age pension entitlements under the 1908 Old Age Pensions Act. You’d have thought we could get it right in that time! As Herbert Spencer wrote:

    To mitigate distress appearing needful for the production of the “greatest happiness,” the English people have sanctioned upwards of one hundred acts in Parliament having this end in view, each of them arising out of the failure or incompleteness of previous legislation. Men are nevertheless still discontented with the Poor Laws, and we are seemingly as far as ever from their satisfactory settlement. [Herbert Spencer, Social Statics, 1851, Introduction]

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