Rudd sceptical of Johnson pledge to resolve Waspi issue

Boris Johnson’s commitment to doing "everything” he can to resolve the women’s state pension issue has been questioned by Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd.

At one of the Conservative Party hustings last week, Johnson, who could become the UK’s next Prime Minister, as well as the next Conservative Party leader, said that he had made “several representations” on behalf of his own constituents.

“I must say the answer I’ve got back from the Treasury is not yet satisfactory. But I will undertake – if I’m lucky enough to succeed in this campaign – to return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out,” he said.

When asked if he would take it upon himself to resolve the ongoing issue, Mr Johnson said: “I commit to doing everything I possibly can to sorting it out. But you know obviously the Treasury raise some stupefying sum that they say will be necessary to deal with it. I’m not convinced that’s necessarily true. Let’s see what we can do.”

However, Rudd told the Mirror she is “slightly sceptical” at holding out any hope for resolving the issue.

“At the moment the Treasury has been very resistant to supplying any additional funds,” she said. "We will see whether a new Prime Minister takes a different view. But at the moment there is no prospect of that changing."

She reiterated the government’s position that it has already made a top up several years ago. “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."

The government has estimated that it would cost a total of £181.4bn to reverse the state pension age (SPA) for women back to 60 between now and 2025/26. A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report found that it would cost £188.4bn in additional state pension costs and £9.9bn in “other pensioner benefits”, such as Pension Credit. This would be slightly offset by a £16.9bn saving in working age benefits.

The judicial review into whether women born in the 1950s were sufficiently communicated with regarding the changes to their state pension age took place in June this year. The campaign group responsible for the review, Backto60, has been campaigning for the SPA for women to be rolled back to 60.

DWP’s analysis replaces a previous cost estimate, published in 2016, which estimated the cost of undoing the (SPA) for women between 2010/11 and 2020/21 would be £77bn.

It stated that the reasons for the difference were the different time periods assessed, “the £77bn figure covered the state pension only”, the lower figure “assumed no uprating of the state pension” and the £77bn was calculated before the new state pension was introduced.

The government also estimated the cost of reversing the 1995 and 2011 acts regarding state pension age for men at £33.8bn. This comprises £17.6bn in state pension benefits, £19.4bn in “other pensioner benefits”, while being partially offset by a £3.2bn saving in working age benefits.

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