On 23 January, the Government agreed to a proposal that will allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated by a new “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of a new HomeCaring credit. Unlike the current Homemakers scheme, this credit will apply to periods both before and after 1994. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside the paid workplace, while raising families or in a caring role. It will make it easier for such pensioners to qualify for a higher rate of the State Pension (contributory). The TCA will ensure that the totality of a person’s social insurance contributions - as opposed to the timing of them - determines a final pension outcome, and it also acknowledges, for the first time, the contribution made by home-carers in the period before 1994.
The TCA model proposed for post-2020 pensioners has yet to be decided upon, as the Government proposal will not be finalised until after a public consultation later this year. There are a number of factors, not just the number of years required for a full pension, which influence outcomes, and I will consider very carefully the priorities identified by stakeholders in that consultation process.
Accordingly, the policy regarding Home-Caring credits has also not been finalised. However, it is my intention that it will be possible for Home-Caring credits to be allocated in the same year as paid contributions, where appropriate.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.