Local MP Peter Hain met with campaigners from Age UK Cymru who were lobbying Parliament to highlight proposals in the Pension Bill that will result in unacceptable delays to Women’s pensions.
Following the meeting Mr Hain said “The goal posts keep being moved for these women many of whom have planned for a comfortable not lavish retirement but are now facing a massive upheaval without enough time to prepare as the Government tries to rush through yet another ill-considered reform. It’s causing these women worry and tension at a time when they should be looking forward to their retirement.”
Recently release figures showed that one thousand women in the Neath constituency would face a delay in accessing their state pension as the Government attempts to speed up the equalisation of state pension age.
Hundreds of thousands of women across the UK born between 1953 and 1954 will be dramatically affected by changes to the state pension age which could see them have to wait an extra two years before they can receive it. Government plans to accelerate the equalisation of state pension age will affect a thousand women in the Neath constituency, figures from the House of Commons Library suggest.
Neath MP Peter Hain has called the proposals a “travesty” as women who have worked hard all their lives and planned for retirement in the next few years are forced to adapt their plans with insufficient time to prepare.
Mr Hain said, “These plans are unfair and target women who are coming to the end of their working lives. They have planned for retirement and now those plans are dramatically affected as they face a longer wait to access their state pension, leaving them feeling they have been robbed.”
Across the UK 300,000 women born between 6 December 1953 and 5 October 1954, will have to wait an extra 18 months, and an unlucky 33,000 born between 6 March 1954 and 5 April 1954 will have to wait an extra 2 years, before being entitled to their state pension.
Thousands of families across Wales will be hit by changes to Child Benefits that are set to take effect in jut twenty months. From January 2013 Child benefit will be withdrawn from families with a higher rate taxpayer.
Peter Hain MP for Neath and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales has described the changes as “unfair” as a loophole will see families of two earners with a combined income of £80,000 receive the benefit but a single earner family on £44,000 lose it.
Official figures from the House of Commons Library say that approximately 37,500 families in Wales will be affected by the changes with an average loss per affected household in Wales of £1,623 per annum, though the actual figure will depend on the number of eligible children in the Household. The clawback would deliver savings of around £61 million in 2013-14, £62 million in 2014-15, and £63 million in 2015-16.
Peter Hain said, “This is another ideological Tory cut attacking families. The callous way they have chosen to introduce the changes will see a lone parent or single earner couples earning just above the higher rate threshold, currently £43,875, lose their child benefit, while dual earner couples both earning just under the threshold would continue to receive it.
“This is a shameful attack on hard working families in Wales, who are being forced to bear the brunt of the government cuts.”
Single parents over the threshold will be particularly badly affected as they would have to pay for childcare out of their reduced income, whilst those who have a parent at home would not have this problem.
There are 9,195 families in Neath in receipt of Child Benefits.
The Tory-Lib Dem cuts are disproportionally affecting women In Neath and surrounding Valleys as they are asked to bear more than seventy percent of the cuts. Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Neath MP has called the figures “damaging for the progress of the next generation of women.”
Independent research shows men on average will lose £4.20 a week, but women on average will lose £8.80 a week – despite the fact that women still earn less than men. Cuts to child tax credit, childcare tax credit, child benefit all hit mothers hardest. This combined with lower public sector, Carers Allowance payments, cuts to housing benefit and the rise in VAT, this Tory Government propped up by the Lib Dems is just throwing more hurdles in the way of women.
“Women play a vital role in the workplace and at home.” Said Mr Hain “Women have already achieved so much, there is still so much to do but this unfair attack will, I fear, not only halt the progress already made but set it back years. It is likely that their life chances and independence will suffer because of this government’s assault on women and families.”
Thousands of pensioners are going to be worse off thanks to cuts Chancellor George Osborne failed to mention in the budget. Older people will receive up to £100 less from the government towards their winter energy bills which Neath MP Peter Hain has called a “cruel blow to the elderly.”
Winter Fuel payments for over 60s are set to drop by £50 from £250 to £200 while those over 80 are expected to lose £100 from £400 to £300. Between 2009 and 2010 there were 12,830 households in Neath in receipt of Winter Fuel Allowance.
Mr Hain said, “This is devastating news for elderly people who rely on these payments to help with the high cost of heating their homes over the winter. The situation is going to be made worse as the cost of heating is continuing to rise but the Chancellor has made no provision for this in the Budget instead he has left the elderly to fend for themselves.
“Over two thousand five hundred people in Neath are in receipt of the higher rate of Winter Fuel Allowance who will now be left to face the rising cost of warming their homes. This is a disgraceful way to treat elderly people.
“The Lib-Dems broke their promise to students over tuition fees and the Tories broke their promise to hard working families over child benefits and now the Tories have broken their promise to pensioners over the Winter Fuel Allowance.”