Labour pledges £58bn to compensate women born in 1950s for delayed pensions

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
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Labour is promising to compensate an estimated 3.7 million women who believed they lost out financially due to changes in the state pension age if the party gains power in the General Election.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the payments were to settle a "historical debt of honour" to the women born in the 1950s, have dubbed their campaign WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality).

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The party said the payout could amount to £58 billion over five years - with individual payments averaging £15,380 running to a maximum of £31,300. The pledge does not feature in the Labour manifesto launched this week, and the cost of implementing it is not included in the policy costings released by the party.

It follows a lengthy campaign by the so-called "Waspi women" who said they were given insufficient time to prepare for the changes brought in by the former coalition government.

Boris Johnson was challenged by one of the women in the studio audience for Friday night's BBC Question Time special.

The Prime Minister said that while he sympathised deeply, he could not promise to "magic up that money" for them.

Mr McDonnell said: "We've prepared a scheme to compensate these women for a historical wrong.

"It's one that they were not been able to prepare for and for which they've had to suffer serious financial consequences for as a result.

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"Some of them have been hit by a combination of poverty and stress, having lost out on what they had contributed towards.

"These changes were imposed upon them by a Tory-led government. So we have a historical debt of honour to them and when we go into government we are going to fulfil that debt."