Photo – © Julian Swainson 2019
5000 women in Norwich North will be offered a pay-out of up to £31,000 after Labour pledges compensation packages for millions of women hit by state pension age rises imposed by the Tories.
Labour will offer pay-outs of up to £31,000, with an average payment of £15,000, to compensate women hit by the Tories’ state pension rise.
The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, said the pay-outs were a “historic debt of honour” to the women.
Pay-outs of up to £31,000 will be made, with an average payment of £15,000, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, announced. The scheme will be delivered within Labour’s first full five year term of government. Payments will go to women born in the 1950s who had their state pension age hiked. McDonnell said the pay-outs were a “historic debt of honour” to the women.
David Cameron’s coalition government presided over a change in the law that increased the women’s state pension age to 65 in November 2018 – followed by 66 in October 2020.
Labour would introduce a compensation scheme for the 3.7million women hit by the changes, which Cameron’s Tory-Lib Dem government imposed in 2011. It comes after Boris Johnson u-turned on Friday on his pledge to help those affected.
Karen Davis, Labour’s candidate in Norwich North, said:
“So many of us know a woman in her sixties whose finances were thrown into disarray by callous Tory changes to the pension age. For many it means great stress and painful cost cutting – but for others it’s been really disastrous. A woman I met on the doorstep, in Sprowston, has had to sell her family home and is struggling with 3 part-time jobs on meagre wages – all because of the Tories’ hypocrisy.
The smirk on Boris Johnson’s face during the TV debate, when he dismissed the concerns of women who’ve been cheated out of their pensions – that told you everything you need to know about him. He’s on the side of the few, not the many.
The Tories won’t undo the wrong they did to women born in the fifties – so it’s up to Labour to do it for them. It’s clearer than ever: Labour’s on your side.”
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “This week, Boris Johnson dismissed the concerns of a woman who has lost out on her pension, telling her it’s “not possible” to right the huge wrong she and so many others have suffered. This is about consideration for those who have paid into the system all their lives and made this country what it is, only to be hung out to dry by a government that puts the interests of the richest first.
The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve. The powerful and wealthy want you to believe that real change is impossible, that it’s not realistic. But it is possible with Labour. Because Labour is not on the side of the billionaires and the bankers, we are on the side of the people.”
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, said: “We’ve prepared a scheme to compensate these women for a historical wrong. It’s one that they were not been able to prepare for and for which they’ve had to suffer serious financial consequences for as a result. Some of them have been hit by a combination of poverty and stress, having lost out on what they had contributed towards.
These changes were imposed upon them by a Tory-led government. So we have a historical debt of honour to them and when go into government we are going to fulfil that debt.
John McDonnell added “We will introduce it as rapidly as we practically can and we will try to ensure the payments are made promptly. It’s a five year scheme and they will get their redress over that five year period. This is a basic principle of justice that we have to adhere to as a government and we are hoping that people will appreciate the sense of injustice and anger that these women feel about the changes that were imposed upon them.”
The amount paid for each ‘lost week’ would depend on the year of birth: women born between 6 April 1950 and 6 April 1960 would be paid some redress: £100pw up to 5 April 1955 and tapered down for those born after 5 April 1955. On that basis, the individual redress payments would vary between nil and £31,300, with an average payment of £15,380.
The total cost of such a proposal is estimated to be £58 billion before tax, but it could be paid in installments, e.g. £11.5 billion per annum, if paid over 5 years. The compensation scheme is a one-off historical redress for a historical wrong, so the state will be expected to find the money, just as it would do if the Government lost a court case, rather than a policy decision.
Boris Johnson backed down on his previous promise during the Conservative leadership election to “to doing everything I possibly can to sorting out” the issue: https://www.express.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/1208181/state-pension-age-boris-johnson-waspi-women-latest-news.
The number of women who will benefit from Labour’s policy is the House of Commons Library estimate of the number of women born in the 1950s affected by the Pensions Acts 1995, 2007 and 2011.