Ros Altmann says Stephen Crabb, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, will meet the WASPI campaigners

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The Pensions Minister, Ros Altmann, appeared before the Work and Pensions Committee and said that the Minister for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb was meeting the WASPI (women against state pension age inequality) campaigners.

What was discussed? 

The Work and Pensions Committee started by talking about ‘intergenerational fairness’, namely, whether today’s pensioners were getting more spent on them or were benefitting disproportionately from government policy, at the expense of today’s young adults.

Key points: Lots was discussed about the fairness or otherwise of the state pension system, policy and rates, but one point was that the Pensions Minister said that the state pension, having hit a low level in relation to average earnings in 2008/09, was now recovering to a level that’s ‘decent’.

State pension age rise(s) and 1950s women

Frank Field and Mhairi Black both tried to ask Ros Altmann about rises to the state pension age and how they had affected women born in the 1950s. At the weekend, Ros Altmann was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox and said that there is ‘nobody more than me’ who would like to help women affected by the rises in state pension age.

Key points: At the Work and Pensions Committee, Ros Altmann said she had nothing further to add to her comments at the weekend. She was questioned repeatedly by Mhairi Black, and at one point, responded: “If you’re asking me do I care about these women, if you’re asking me am I rowing back from anything I said in the past, then I do care and I’m not rowing back. But I have nothing to add to what I said at the weekend. I’m here to talk about the broader issues rather than the narrow one.”

She did say that the government would respond once it had received the Work and Pensions Committee final report.

Ros Altmann was then pushed by Frank Field MP to confirm whether the reported comments she made at the weekend were an accurate reflection of what she’d actually said. Ros Altmann responded by saying: “The Secretary of State [Stephen Crabb] is taking the lead on this issue. He is already meeting with some of the women affected.”

The WASPI campaign said on Wednesday that they’d not received an invitation to meet with Stephen Crabb, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. I’ll update this article if I hear differently.

Useful links: 

You can watch the Work and Pensions Committee session on the Parliamentlive.tv channel

WASPI’s Facebook page

Related articles: 

10 things you need to know about the new state pension from April 2016

MPs say that 1950s women could get early access to their state pension

What’s changed for women and money over the last 90 years?

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