Claims of women losing cash under pension reform refuted
THE Government has denied claims from Labour's Derby North MP Chris Williamson that its pensions reforms will leave 1,200 Derby women worse off compared to men.
The changes mean that, instead of a basic pension of £107 a week plus various means-tested top-ups, recipients will get £144 in today's money from April 2017 at the earliest.
The Department for Work and Pensions says the change will simplify the current system, which can become complicated as some people receive the State Second Pension. This is the Government's earnings-related additional pension.
People may currently also benefit from an additional means test that tops up the pensions of the less wealthy.
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The DWP says the new system, announced last month, will be fairer for the self-employed, who do not currently build up a second state pension, and mothers, who spend time out of the workforce.
But Mr Williamson said Labour research had revealed the "true cost" of reforms – huge numbers of women losing out in comparison to men, including 1,200 in Derby.
He said some women born in 1952 and 1953 would not be eligible for the single-tier pension since they are due to retire before the new system comes into affect.
But, because of the current difference in retirement ages, men born during the same period will qualify.
Mr Williamson said: "The news comes after the Government claimed that 'we have to be absolutely transparent' [about who will lose out]."
Yet he failed to make clear the full consequences of the planned reforms.
"There are 430,500 women across the country and well over 1,200 in Derby who will be nearly £2,000 worse off compared to men.
"Once again, ministers have been caught with their hands in pensioners' pockets. It's about time this Government had the decency to be honest about who will lose out under their plans."
Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said Labour's research did not mention that women born in 1952 and 1953 would "receive their state pension up to three years before a man born on the same day, which could be worth up to £16,750 to them".
He said: "People can be reassured that, while single tier is a different system, it is no more generous overall than the one it replaces. It is nonsense to talk about dipping in people's pockets. For these women, our recent announcement does not change by one penny the amount of pension they are going to get."