Guy Opperman faced heckles of “shame on you” and “disgraceful” from WASPI pension campaigners in a packed debate in the House of Commons.
A Tory minister sparked fury today after suggesting women “robbed” of their pension could take up an apprenticeship.
Guy Opperman was heckled with shouts of “shame on you” and “disgraceful” from campaigners in a packed debate in the House of Commons’ Westminster Hall.
The pensions minister faced cross-party calls to offer help to 2.6million women born in the 1950s who say their pension age rose at short notice.
Labour said 37 Tory MPs, plus Mrs May’s new DUP allies, back the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign – enough to potentially crush her fragile majority.
But Mr Opperman said the government had done a “massive amount” already, telling MPs: “The reality is over 200,000 people over 60 have entered further education since 2014/15.
“We have also extended apprenticeship opportunities as one of the best routes to skilled employment for people of all ages and gender.
“Such apprenticeships in England, for example, in 2014/15… 12% of the starting apprenticeships were for those aged 45.”
There were shouts of protest and Labour MP Grahame Morris, who led the debate, said the women were “not looking for apprenticeships at 64.
“They’re looking for some recognition of their contribution – sometimes over 44, 45 years or more – many of them whom are now in ill health.