In July well before the publication of the decision of the judicial review Boris Johnson during the Tory leadership campaign was quoted by Dan Bloom in the Mirror of promising some sort of support for 50swomen who had to wait up to six years for their pension. The quote reproduced by the BackTo60 campaign in the picture below raised hopes that the present government might soften its attitude and offer something.
Now just after the publication of the judicial review decision he has changed his mind. Writing to a constituent in Uxbridge and South Ruislip who wishes to remain anonymous he has completely backtracked and also got some of the facts wrong into the bargain.
In a letter to her he now is promising nothing.
” Making further transitional arrangements would not only complicate the system but could also cost the taxpayers many billions of pounds and the potential cost of reversing the 2011 changes has been estimated at £39 billion.”
He then goes on to state that people affected by the 2011 change had all been told between January 2011 and November 2013. And further claims that those affected by the 1995 Pensions Act which raised the pension age were all told between April 2009 and March 2011.
The latter is a major gaffe since even I, as a severe critic of successive governments handling of the issue, would concede that some people were told before 2009. It also is an admission that the whole purpose of introducing the change in 1995 so people had notice was a failure – as April 2009 is just one year before the changes started to take effect. What a monumental own goal.
He also seems to confuse the role of the £1.1 billion concession in 2011 to delay the effect of further changes to the additional rise of the pension age to 66.
He seems to think this was a godsend for women claiming that he was pleased that it mitigated their position. In fact it only delayed the rise and also helped men who started to be affected after 2018.
Finally he talks of the ” sharp increases ” in longevity making the system, unsustainable. Well these cease in 2011 and have flat lined – even falling in the poorer areas such as Blackpool, north of Glasgow and in North Wales.
I can only hope that the PM has a proper understanding of the current negotiations going on over Brexit – because if this is an example of his grasp of facts – they are going to get in a real mess this week.
It also means – if this is now the PM’s view – that Carolyn Harris, Labour MP for Swansea East and Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for Worthing East and Shoreham, are wasting their time seeing Therese Coffey, the new works and pensions secretary to discuss any concessions for the 50s women on behalf of the all party group against pension inequality.
For the women themselves the one power they have left is their vote at a soon to be called general election. Unless they are happy to remain living in poverty voting for a new Conservative government is a waste of space.