Many women still unaware of state pension reform, says Huntingdonshire group planning to lobby government

PUBLISHED: 18:00 06 March 2017

Heather Cook and Debbie Hawkes.

Heather Cook and Debbie Hawkes.

Archant

Women from across Huntingdonshire will take their concerns about pension reform to the heart of government next week.

Campaigners from the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPIE) group will travel to London to protest against the lack of information given to women about changes to their pensions.

The march takes place on March 8, which is also International Women’s Day, and the same day the chancellor will deliver his budget speech. In 1995, the government changed the law so that the age at which a woman could receive a state pension was brought in line with men, to 65.

Heather Cook, co-ordinator of the Huntingdonshire group, said: “Of course we support bringing about equality in pensions between men and women. But the problem is that the government didn’t inform women when they made the change in 1995. Then, in 2011, the coalition government decided that the new pension age of 65 would be brought in two years earlier in 2018 and for both sexes it would rise to 66 in 2020. Again, many women weren’t informed of this change either. We are still meeting women in Huntingdonshire who genuinely believe they will get their pension at 60. The lack of notice has caused real problems, not allowing women time to plan for their later retirement and pushing many into financial hardship.”

Members of the Huntingdonshire group will protest outside the Houses of Parliament and join in the demonstration, which will be followed by a mass lobby of MPs.

The aim of the WASPI group is to bring the pensions plight of women born in the 1950s to the attention of the government.

“We have worked hard all our lives, many of us from the age of 15, saved and supported ourselves and now we find that after a lifetime of doing the right thing, through a lack of notice of the pension age changes, the government is taking away our security in retirement,” said a spokeswoman from the national WASPI group.

“Many of our women have lost as much as £48,000 of pension income and had as little as 18 months’ notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age. It’s no wonder that they are calling on the government to make fair transitional arrangements to their new pension age.”

WASPI supporters have made it clear that they do not object to the increase in state pension age for women, but have concerns about the “unfair and discriminatory way” the changes have been implemented.

INFO: If you would like to join the WASPIE group, there is more information on the website: www.waspie.co.uk or e-mail: huntingdonshirewaspi@gmail.com.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) was set up in 2015, by five women who had been personally affected by the changes to the state pension age instigated by the 1995 and 2011 pensions acts. The group’s focus is to raise awareness and campaign over the unfair changes to the changes imposed on women born in the 1950s.

Now a membership company limited by guarantee, the campaign raised £100,000 in under three weeks to allow it to pursue ongoing legal action against the Government. As a direct result of WASPI’s lobbying and reach, there have been six parliamentary debates that have added more pressure on the Government to look again at making fair transition pension arrangements for the women affected by the pensions acts.

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