Mary voted in parliament against the changes to the state pension age for women on 7 January, to ensure a fair deal for women. The Labour party has called on the government to look at transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have been hit hardest by the changes to state pension age.
The 1995 Pensions Act increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and 2020, to bring it in line with that of men. But in 2011 the coalition government moved the goalposts. They accelerated the rise in the women's state pension age from April 2016 so that it reached 65 by November 2018, and increased it to 66 by 2020. Labour supports the equalisation of state pension age but changes must be carefully implemented so that those affected have adequate notice of the changes and can plan for the future.
Mary said, “Many of these women have faced inequality in their working lives through unequal pay, taking time out of work to bring up children, or working part-time, and have not had the chance to build up a pension in the same way as men of their age. This makes it more difficult for them to adapt to sudden changes to their pension age.” Many women have been left in real difficulty as the short notice of these changes means they could not plan for their new circumstances.
Mary was delighted to welcome constituents Janet and Peter Baldock (pictured), who have been campaigning against the changes, to parliament to attend a Westminster Hall debate on the issue organised by Labour.