State Pension 

Waspi women ask for Chancellor’s cooperation

Waspi women ask for Chancellor’s cooperation

A group of women born in the 1950s affected by an increase in the state pension age have asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to intervene and discuss possible solutions for their issue.

In an open letter to Phillip Hammond (pictured), seen by FTAdviser, the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign group said it wanted to meet the chancellor to discuss the issues in more detail.

The group contests the chancellor’s remarks made during the Spring Statement in March when he said he had heard about Waspi but considered the matter resolved.

He said: "We were dealing with a very difficult set of challenges but did what we had to do. I know the campaign continues, but I have no further announcements to make."

In the letter, Angela Madden, finance director and chair of Waspi, said 3.8m women faced "unique barriers when trying to mitigate against the financial hardship which they are currently experiencing".

The campaign group claims that 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.

Waspi 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.

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

Ms Madden said: "Many women affected have no other source of income – until the 1990s some women weren’t allowed to join company pension schemes.

"Many women face difficulties in returning to the workplace through a combination of age discrimination in recruitment, a lack of age-friendly policies in the workplace and long-term health problems.

"Many women took on caring responsibilities in expectation that they would receive a state pension at 60, and so have faced difficulties in returning to the workplace following a delay to their state pension.

"Some divorce settlements have been calculated using projected incomes which include women receiving their state pension at 60.”

In November it was revealed that Backto60, another women’s campaign group, was granted permission to file a judicial review over the state pension age increase at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The campaign group, which claims to have 738,000 supporters, is being supported by a legal team led by renowned civil rights barrister Michael Mansfield.

The review's two-day hearing has been scheduled for June 5 and 6.

maria.espadinha@ft.com