LONDON- Britain's main opposition Labour Party has promised to hand more than three million women compensation for the loss of years of state pension payments when their retirement age was raised if it wins power at a Dec. 12 election.
Labour's finance policy chief, John McDonnell, said pay-outs of up to 31,000 pounds, with an average payment of 15,000 pounds, would be made to those women who had been expecting to retire at 60 but then were told they would have to wait longer.
Labour said the total cost of such a proposal was estimated to be 58 billion pounds before tax, but that it could be paid in instalments.
"The next Labour government will compensate women who were unfairly hit by the rise in the state pension age and give them the respect they deserve," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement.
"The powerful and wealthy want you to believe that real change is impossible, that it's not realistic. But it is possible with Labour. Because Labour is not on the side of the billionaires and the bankers, we are on the side of the people."
The move is part of Labour's generous spending plans, but it was not costed in its manifesto. McDonnell told Sky News it would be funded by a "very special arrangement, a contingency".
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Kate Holton) ((email@example.com; 07979746994; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))