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  1. ITV Report

DUP back review of women's pension changes

The DUP is supporting a proposal by a Labour MP for a review into the impact of planned changes to women's pensions.

Former minister David Hanson told MPs that the DUP is among the backers of a Private Member's Bill sponsored by his Labour colleague Carolyn Harris.

The Bill put forward by the Swansea East representative is scheduled for debate on April 27 next year and seeks to establish a review of pension arrangements for women affected by law changes in 1995 and 2011, including a commitment to develop costings for a compensation scheme.

DUP MP for Belfast East, Gavin Robinson, wrote in August that his party will continue to support the Waspi campaign and work to "deliver fair arrangements".

Plans to increase the state pension age for women between 2010 and 2020 were initially set out in 1995.

But this process was sped up by the coalition government in 2011, resulting in the state pension age for women due to increase to 65 in November 2018 and to 66 by October 2020.

Campaigners, led by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group, argue women affected by the changes have been required to rethink their retirement plans at relatively short notice and have suffered financial hardship.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hanson said, "My honourable friend (Ms Harris), myself, members of your own party and all opposition parties in this House - including the DUP - have tabled a Bill to provide for transitional arrangements to be put in place, which will be debated on April 27.

"Will you support that Bill to give transitional arrangements, and if not, could you tell the House why not?"

Work and Pensions minister Guy Opperman replied, "The Government is not intending to revisit the state pension age arrangements for women born in the 1950s or affected by the Pensions Act of 1995, 2007 and 2011.

"The cost of such matters would be in excess of £70 billion."

Ms Harris's draft law is known as the Pensions (Review of Women's Arrangements) (No. 2) Bill.