Conservative Peter Aldous contradicts party line with speech calling for pension injustice to be corrected
- Credit: Archant
Conservative Peter Aldous has issued a passionate defence of those campaigning for the government to help women who have been adversely affected by state pension age increases.
The Waveney MP said there was an injustice which needed to be corrected during a debate where ministers were accused of ducking their responsibility to women who campaigners argue have had to rethink their retirement plans at short notice.
But Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said concessions had already been made and that further ones 'can't be justified'.
Plans to increase the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020 were initially set out in 1995.
But the coalition government decided to speed up the process in 2011, resulting in the state pension age for women due to increase to 65 in November 2018 and to 66 by October 2020.
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The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign group have led the fight to try and win increased support for those affected and SNP pensions spokesman Blackford said it was time the Government listened.
Towards the end of a sometimes heated debate, Mr Aldous said he would not hear any 'aspersions' cast against the Waspi women, describing those he had met as 'completely sincere'. He brandished a file of 'difficult and challenging circumstances' which he said people were facing as a result of the changes.
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'There is an injustice we need to correct,' he said.
Mr Aldous acknowledged the finances were tight, but said there were times when they needed to do the right thing.
'This is one of those times.'
He went on to urge the government to sit down with the Waspi women, engage the experts and come up with a solution that was fair to the Waspi women and was 'fair, considered and affordable'.
But he did not back the motion and said later he had chosen not to because the arrangements the government needed to come forward with should be 'fair, fully considered and affordable', and at over £30bn the SNP motion did not satisfy the third requirement.
The SNP motion, which asked the Government to work with campaigners to 'explore transitional protection', was defeated by 293 votes to 234 - majority 59.
A Government amendment, which backed its changes, was approved unopposed.
Votes in backbench debates are not binding on the government.