Govt ignores motion on 1950’s women state pension restitution

The government will not respond to a Labour-led Early Day Motion (EDM) urging it to “enact a temporary special measure” to provide restitution to women born in the 1950s that have been affected by the change in state pension age.

In a response to a written question, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said that the matter had already been “comprehensively debated on many occasions” and that the government does not respond to individual EDMs.

He added: “Any amendment to the current legislation which created a new inequality between man and woman would be highly dubious as a matter of law”.

The motion, EDM 2296, was primarily sponsored by Labour MP Anna McMorrin, and noted that discriminatory employment and pension laws in the 1950s led to women born in that decade being “excluded from some pension schemes”, which had “the negative effect for them of losing the opportunity to have the same level of pension as their partner or spouse”.

The EDM said that this meant women born in the 1950s were never able to have equal pensions to men, leading to “increased poverty, deteriorating health and homelessness”.

As a result, the EDM called for a temporary special measure “as permitted by international law” to provide restitution to the women affected.

In his response to the question asking if the government will publish a response to the EDM, Opperman argued that equalising the state pension age addressed the “longstanding inequalities that had previously existed between men and women”.

He continued: “If state pension age had not been equalised, women would be spending over 40 per cent of their adult life in retirement and this proportion would be continuing to increase.

“Even after equalising women's state pension age with men's, women will spend on average around two years more in receipt of their state pension because of their longer life expectancy.”

The motion estimated that there were 3.8 million women affected by the state pension age equalisation, with some arguing that the government’s communication of the changes to those impacted was insufficient.

A judicial review has been scheduled for 5 and 6 June to investigate whether the communication was sufficient.

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