We propose that the new crediting arrangements for carers will apply from 2010. On its own, the new carers credit will mean that approximately 70,000 more carers could gain credit to the basic state pension. It will also help around 110,000 more women and 50,000 more men to gain credits to the state second pension.
I thank the Minister for that reply. The White Paper is a bold move forward and will ensure that many carers get increased pension rights. However, does my hon. Friend know that a quarter of all women between the ages of 50 and 59 are in a caring role? Much of the time that they have spent caring has been before the introduction of home responsibilities protection and credits. Will he ensure that those women will not lose out when the excellent proposals are implemented?
That is the key group at which the reforms are aimed. They will be helped especially by the reduction in the number of qualifying years to 30. Approximately 30 per cent. of women currently reach retirement age with full entitlement to a basic state pension. In 2010, the figure will be 70 per cent. and it will be 90 per cent. in 2020. That will help exactly the group that my hon. Friend mentioned.