State Pension 

Waspi women want May to intervene

Waspi women want May to intervene

A group of women born in the 1950s affected by an increase in the state pension age have asked Prime Minister Theresa May to intervene and discuss possible solutions of recompense.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign claimed while the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women’s state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The group also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

The movement yesterday (4 July) organised a silent protest in London and published an open letter to Mrs May, signed by all local campaign groups, calling the Prime Minister, a "50s-born woman herself, to give Waspi women back their future and work towards a suitable solution".

Rosemary Dickson, Waspi campaign director, urged Mrs May to make proper recompense to the 3.8 million women affected by the state pension age increase.

She said: "Every day we hear from women who are struggling to make ends meet, women who cannot afford to pay their bills, women who have had to sell their home to get by, women who are now reliant on their families for their income, women who are no longer able to provide care to loved ones and are forced to return to work, women who are sofa surfing or sleeping in cars.

"There are over 6,000 of us in your constituency alone."

Ms Dickson argued that the campaign firmly supports the equalisation of the state pension age, and isn’t calling for these changes to be reversed.

However, she said the group object to the way that state pension age increases were implemented.

She said: "Women were given little to no notice of a hugely significant increase in their retirement age.

"All have suffered a loss of income, with some losing as much as £45,000 as a result."

Ms Dickson also said Waspi has developed options for potential solutions to provide transitional arrangements for the women affected, and that the campaign is actively seeking the opportunity to discuss a solution with Mrs May's government.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on state pension Inequality for Women, led by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, announced in May the proposals it will include in its private members’ Bill for these women, which is tabled to be discussed in Parliament on 26 October.

The goal is to get the government to review pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have or will be financial disadvantaged by changes to equalise the state pension age between men and women, and consider costings for three solutions.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has previously dismissed making changes to the state pension age arrangements, since it would cost more than £70bn.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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