A Question For Parliament – Are You Listening, Bob?

BOB SPINK, our local MP, is keen to ask questions in parliament. Well, here is a pertinent question that needs to be asked on behalf of many of his married female constituents:-

Why are married women, who have elected to forgo any entitlement to unemployment benefits by choosing to pay the old ‘B’ Rate, Married Woman’s stamp, now being prevented by this government’s pension reforms from being able to purchase Class 3 contributions to top-up their state pension entitlement?

Prior to 1975, married women were given the opportunity of reducing their National Insurance contributions to assist their families in making ends meet – on the understanding that the reduced rate would not permit them to claim state benefits should they find themselves out of work.

Many responsible wives, on small, part-time incomes, took-up the offer reasoning that – in the absence of any other advice – their contribution would still entitle them to NHS treatment (true) and a full state pension when they retired (false). It now transpires that someone retiring next year, despite being employed full-time for over 40 years and never being in a position to claim state benefits, will be entitled to around just £20 per week.

On the other hand, a female who has enjoyed state benefits throughout their working lives, and never worked, will ‘retire’ on a full state pension.

The anomaly, which needs to be addressed immediately by this government, goes to the heart of what is fair in a modern society.

Currently, married women on the old ‘B’ Rate stamp, can claim against their husband’s contributions to ensure they receive a ‘60% Pension;’ but they can only do that when he retires.

Had the couple not married, spent their lives on benefits and never worked: both would receive a full state pension when they reached retirement age.

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One Response

  1. It seems to me that a state pension should only be given to those who have contributed to society. It should be a reward for work contributed and not just a universal hand-out.

    To think that anyone can work a lifetime contributing to this society and then be rewarded with a mere £20 a week is an insult. Just as it is an insult to suggest a person should be limited to claiming just 60% of a husband’s entitlement.

    I thought everyone could puchase Class 3 to make-up for years lost through low paid work or self employment. Why are married women any different. Particularly as I understand that B rate contributions, although lower than class A are MORE than the self-employed stamp?

    This is just plain discrimination – and I wonder that Harriet Harmann has not jumped on this.

    If Spink has any conscience at all he should take this up. It is afterall a real issue – and he can do with all the help he can get.

    What do the PPCs have to say on the matter?

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