MORE than 3,000 self-employed South Tyneside workers will benefit from pension reforms debated by MPs this week, politicians have insisted.
Introduced by Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb, the new single-tier pension will “treat self-employed people fairly for the first time”.
In the past, self-employed people missed out on a higher state pension because they could not qualify for the second state pension, despite having paid National Insurance contributions all their lives.
This left them relying on a basic state pension of just £107 a week.
Under the new system, anyone who has 35 years of working or caring will qualify for a decent, flat rate pension of £144 a week.
The reforms will also treat men and women equally for the first time, with 750,000 women getting an average £9 a week extra within the first 10 years of its introduction.
It will be set above the basic level of the means test and will value unpaid caring work as much as a high-flying city job.
North East regional party chair Ian Jones said: “I am delighted that these pension reforms, coming from a Liberal Democrat minister, will create a simpler and fairer state pension.
“For too long, hard-working self employed people and carers have been getting a raw deal, despite the incredibly valuable contribution they make to our economy.
“Now, the 3,280 self-employed people in South Tyneside who chose to get on with running their own business will be properly rewarded for their contributions and will not lose out later in life.”
The Pensions Bill began its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday.