WASPI women do it with Labour. John McDonnell pledged £58bn to right an historical ‘injustice’
Compensating women who believe they lost out financially due to state pension age changes will be expensive but there is a need to right the “injustice”, says Labour’s John McDonnell.
The shadow chancellor made his comments to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme as the party pledged, if it wins the election, to make payouts to those affected, which could total £58bn over five years.
Nearly four million women born in the 1950s have been affected by the change to raise the state pension age from 60 to 66 in a move to ensure “pension age equalisation”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the pledge would settle a “debt of honour” to women born in the 1950s.
Mr McDonnell said the compensation, which the party says could cost £58bn over five years, would right a “historical wrong”.
He told Sophy Ridge that the women affected “had done everything that had been asked” of them during their working lives and many had been “forced into penury” through no fault of their own.
“This is a historic injustice and we have to address it. Some of these women are older and may not be with us if we don’t act quickly.”
The campaign for compensation has been led by the group Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi).
Under a Labour government, women born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1955 would be paid £100 for each week of entitlement lost.
Those born between 6 April 1955 and 6 April 1960 would receive smaller amounts.
Labour’s Angela Rayner stated: “The government failed the women who were born in the 1950s. They stole their pension.”
The maximum compensation would be £31,300, with an average payment of £15,380.
There are two parts of the proposed compensation: one for the changes made in 1995, when it was decided that the state pension age for women should increase from 60 to 65, and one for the changes in 2011 when the increase to 65 was accelerated and an increase to 66 was scheduled.
The 1995 and 2011 compensation combines to give a total up to the maximum £31,300.
Consider, for example:
- A woman born in February 1955 who would have been expecting to retire aged 60 in 2015. But in 1995 when she would have been 40, this was changed to 65 – so she would be retiring in 2020. Labour is proposing to give her about £25,000 for this change. In 2011, the ground shifted further for her when the government said she wouldn’t be able to get the state pension until the age of 66 in 2021. For this, Labour is promising her about £6,000.
- On the other hand, a woman born in May 1960 would have expected to retire in 2020. In 1995 this was postponed to 2025. The act in 2011 meant she wouldn’t be able to get the state pension until the age of 66 in 2026. Labour says she had long enough to prepare for each of these changes and will get nothing.
Labour has produced a calculator for affected people to check how much compensation they could receive.