BOLTON Labour election candidate Julie Hilling has welcomed her party’s commitment to compensate women born in the 1950s for the cost of changes in their state pension age.

Campaigners claim increasing the female qualifying age from 60 to 65 and then to 67 by 2028, in line with men, had hit this group, called Waspis, hardest.

Earlier this month they lost a High Court case but are set to appeal.

At the weekend Shadow chancellor John McDonnell promised a Labour government would pay out up to £58billion in compensation to three million women who lost out on years of state pension payments when their retirement age was raised.

He said this would settle a ‘debt of honour’ to women born in the 1950s but the cost was not included in the party’s manifesto published days earlier, .

Ms Hilling, standing in ultra-marginal Bolton West who raised the issue in the 2017 campaign, said: “Labour’s plan is simple. We will return the money 1950s born women paid in their National Insurance contributions back to them after it was stolen by Tory and LibDem Governments. Accelerating the pension age change left many without the time to change their plans, and occurred at the same time the Tory cuts were disproportionately hitting women.

“The consequences for thousands of women has been dire. Unable or too unwell to find work, many have used all of their savings to live and some have lost their homes too.

Tory candidate Chris Green said: “The Labour Party forgot to the put the £58bn full costing of this into its manifesto. This shows the depth, of lack of depth, of their commitment to this policy.

“It also shows the party’s appetite for unaffordable spending promises.

“I have great sympathy for the woman affected but £58bn is unaffordable for the country. Any help needs to be targeted and focussed on the most vulnerable.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Rebecca Forrest said: “Labours spending pledges need serious scrutiny by the public – the Liberal Democrats are committed to making sure WASPI women are fairly treated and paid appropriate compensation - but we need an economy in the UK to be able to deliver on big spending pledges. Labour have lost the plot, and their pledges have no credibility anymore.”

Green candidate Paris Hayes said: “This is an injustice. It is right that these woman should be compensated but I would have thought Labour would have costed this properly and put it in their manifesto.”

He added: “It looks like a late bodged vote-winning move. We need to know that something else important is not going to be cut to pay for this.”

The Green Party would compensate their Waspi women through its Universal Basic Income policy.

Mrs Hilling added: “I am so pleased that, with the campaigning groups, we have designed a scheme that will compensate 1950s born women for the failure of successive Tory Governments and we will legislate to ensure such an injustice can never happen again.”