TIM LOUGHTON: Compromise needed on pension inequality

Tim Loughton
Tim Loughton

Last week we held the tenth debate in the space of a year in the Commons on the subject of Women Against State Pension Inequality, or the WASPI campaign as it is better known.

I have written before about my support for the hundreds of thousands of women, including many in my constituency, who stand to lose out disproportionately from successive governments’ moves to speed up equalisation of the pension age between men and women.

Alas again this was a non-binding vote and the government shows no sign of making any concessions despite increasing cases of real hardship being suffered by many unable to work in their sixties and having been given little or no warning to make alternative provisions. This is just not fair and the Government is wrong on this one. A compromise can and needs to be made so the fight frustratingly goes on.

The railway situation goes from bad to worse. The plans by train driver union ASLEF to make the run-up to and after Christmas seasonal transport hell have as little logic as the strike action by the RMT against new driver only train contracts which all but two of them have already accepted.

I am afraid this has become very political and the latest moves will be even more damaging for our train travelling public.

There was good news in the form of Chris Grayling’s announcement that Southern passengers would get a discount on renewing season tickets, which I have been calling for all year.

Alas it was only a start and rather undermined by the fact that fares are still to increase in January and it is the Government not GTR paying for the compensation package.

That just adds insult to injury and later this month I will be introducing a private member’s bill which makes sure the cost of a shambolic rail service hits the pockets of the train operators where it can have most effect and the penalty payments can be set against ticket prices automatically.

One private member bill I am very happy to support is the measure by my colleague the member for Dartford Gareth Johnson’s ‘Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill.’

This bill aims to outlaw the increasing problem of so-called ‘Walter Mitty’s’ wearing medals they have not earned, intending to deceive and curry favour.

It can be deeply offensive and only undermines the genuine contributions of the many veterans we proudly turn out on Remembrance Day to pay tribute to.

With Government support it looks as though this will become law.

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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