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Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign

Volume 613: debated on Monday 11 July 2016

10. What recent representations he has received from the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign; and if he will make a statement. (905759)

The Pensions Minister, Baroness Altmann, and I recently met WASPI representatives to listen to their concerns. We made clear the Government’s position that we will not be unwinding past decisions and that there are no plans to change policy.

Between 2016-17 and 2025-26, more than 5,000 women in my constituency alone will be affected by the changes. Some of them will need to work six years longer than they had anticipated. For the last time, I ask the Minister to show some leadership. Rather than shrug his shoulders, will he step up to the mark and end this injustice?

No one is shrugging shoulders. As I said, no credible alternative has been put forward by any of the parties in this House; it was not in their manifestos. Members do not help the WASPI women by leading them to have expectations when the position of the Government is absolutely clear. A £1.1 billion concession was made in 2011; the period involved was reduced from two years to 18 months; and for 81% of the women affected the period concerned is no more than 12 months—81% of the women will not be affected by more than 12 months.

A few moments ago, the Secretary of State made a statement saying that Britain’s economy was booming—or words to that effect. [Interruption.] It was as near as dammit. If it is that good, why does he not make sure the WASPI women get the proper pensions, and not this load of crap the Government are chucking out now?

Let me just correct the hon. Gentleman: my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that the economy was fundamentally strong. As for the other issues, it would have been helpful if the hon. Gentleman had listened to some of the answers I had given earlier, while he was rehearsing his question. If he had listened, he would have appreciated—

If he had listened to the questions, he would have found that I said a £1.1 billion concession was made in 2011.