What are the manifestos saying about state pensions and WASPI women?

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I’ve been asked for a summary of what the main parties are offering to do for WASPI women – if they’re offering anything at all. So here’s my guide to what the manifestos are saying about state pensions and WASPI women.

Conservatives

The Conservative manifesto makes no mention of the rise in state pension age – either by way of help for Waspi women or future rises. It was due to respond to John Cridland’s review of the state pension age rise by May 7th, but it hasn’t. This is what it does say about the state pension and benefits for pensioners:

  • State pension triple lock: The triple lock, which currently means that the state pension will increase by wages, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher, will stay until 2020. After that it will be replaced with a double lock (the higher of earnings and inflation).
  • State pension age rises: Any future state pension age rises will reflect increases in how long we’re living for but should protect each generation fairly.
  • Pensioner benefits: Winter fuel payment will be means tested and only the poorest pensioners will get it. Free bus passes, eye tests, TV licences etc will be guaranteed for the lifetime of this parliament.

You can read my full guide to the Conservative manifesto.

Labour

Here’s what the manifesto has to say about pensions:

  • Scrap future rises in the state pension age: Labour says that it will put on hold plans to increase the state pension age above 66. It will hold its own review on further rises in the state pension age, aimed at developing a flexible retirement policy that takes into account the big differences in life expectancy, among other factors.
  • WASPI women: Pension credit will be extended to 1950s women who’ve lost out because they didn’t realise their state pension age was rising. To be clear, this would mean it was paid at your original state pension age, not – as it currently is – at the state pension age you’re on after the rises. Pension credit guarantee rate is paid at £159.30 (in tax year 2017 – 18). It is a means-tested payment which is set at just below the state pension level. You can find out how pension credit works and who qualifies for it in my article. Labour also says it’s exploring options for further transitional protections. It told BBC Moneybox that its budget for all help for WASPI women is currently £380 million.
  • Ring-fence existing state pension: Labour says it will legislate so that the state pension cannot be changed in the future like it has been for WASPI women. It will introduce laws to protect any state pension you’ve already built up. If there are changes to the state pension in the future, this will only affect the state pension you build up after the change.
  • Guarantee the state pension triple lock: The triple lock, which currently means that the state pension will increase by wages, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher, will stay.
  • Pensioner benefits: Winter fuel payment and free bus passes will be guaranteed. Find out more about the winter fuel payment in my article.
  • State pensions abroad: Protection of the state pension received by UK citizens living in the EU and elsewhere.

You can read my full guide to the Labour manifesto

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat manifesto makes no mention of the rise in state pension age – either by way of help for Waspi women or future rises.

  • State pension triple lock: The triple lock, which currently means that the state pension will increase by wages, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher, will stay for the next parliament.
  • Pensioner benefits: Winter fuel payment will not be available to anyone paying tax at 40% or more. Free bus passes will not be means tested.

You can read my full guide to the Liberal Democrat manifesto

UKIP

UKIP’s 2015 manifesto included a plan to let people access their state pension early. This time round, the manifesto includes the same policy pledge.

  • State pension: Women will be able to take their state pension at 60 if they want to but they will get less for the rest of their lives if they do this. Men and women will be able to get their state pension before their state pension age (and get a reduced amount for life). I’m assuming, although the manifesto doesn’t say, that men won’t be able to get their state pension at such an early age.
  • State pension triple lock: The triple lock, which currently means that the state pension will increase by wages, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher, will stay.

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party has been very supportive of the WASPI campaign. It says it opposes any future rise in the state pension age beyond 66.

  • WASPI: The SNP says it will continue to support the WASPI women in their efforts to get a fair settlement.
  • State pension age rises: Set up an Independent Saving and Pension Commission which will make sure that policies relating to savings and pensions are fit for purpose. It will look at a state pension age that takes into account the fact that women – and men – don’t live as long in certain parts of the UK.
  • State pension triple lock: The SNP wants the triple lock, which currently means that the state pension will increase by wages, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher, to stay.

Plaid Cymru

Its manifesto says that the party will fight to keep the triple lock for the state pension. It will also oppose increases in the state pension age.

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