Labour vows to pay 'debt of honour' to millions of women hit by state pension rise
Labour has vowed to pay a “debt of honour” to more than three million women hit by changes to the state pension age.
John McDonnell has announced a £58bn scheme to end the “historic injustice” to women born in the 1950s, known as the 'WASPI' women, who were affected by a rise in the retirement age from 60 to 65 since 2010.
The hike led to claims from those affected they were not given enough notice to adjust plans for the years in which they expected to receive a pension.
It is estimated some lost out on more than £40,000 because of the move, leaving many on benefits or forced to work longer than they expected to as they wait for their pension payments to kick in.
However, campaigners lost a High Court battle against the Department of Work and Pensions on the matter in October.
The Shadow Chancellor has now said the affected women will be eligible for up to £31,300 in compensation, with the average sum likely to be £15,380, if Labour gets into power next month.
He told the Sunday Mirror: “We see this as a debt of honour.”
“Some of the stories that I’ve heard around the country have been heartrending.
"People feel a sense of injustice that they’ve lost what they thought was a basic contract between them and the Government, about their pension and when they retire.
“They’ve worked all their lives and feel completely betrayed. They say ‘We weren’t properly consulted or informed.’ Resentment built up – that’s understandable.”
Mr McDonnell explained the policy will be rolled out over five years, and be paid for by normal taxation.
Eligible women could begin receiving payments within months of a Labour government, receiving £100 for each week of state pension they lost out on.
He added: “We’re treating this as a very special circumstance.
“It’s a historic debt, a historic injustice. We see this as a debt of honour that we have got to fulfil."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe