Earlier this year, a delegation on women from Nottinghamshire, joined thousands of other women from across the country to march upon parliament and lobby their MPs about government changes to state pension ages for women born on or after April 6, 1951.
These are women who upon nearing what they believed to be the age they would receive their state pension, have had their hopes, plans and dreams for the future put on hold - at best, and in many cases dashed completely.
These women are the WASPIs – Women Against State Pension Inequality.
The 1995 Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s State Pension Age to 65, in line with men’s. WASPI campaigners agree with equalisation, but does not agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented – with little or no personal notice, faster than promised, and giving no time for women to make alternative plans.
Whilst speaking to WASPI campaigners and other women born in the 50s who will be affected by these changes, I have heard stories of the way that women’s lives, and those of their families, have been affected by the shock discovery that they will not be receiving their pension when they expected to. Women who had given up work a couple of years early for many reasons – including caring responsibilities or personal health, reliant upon their small amount of savings to tide them over until they can draw their pension, now find that they are not receiving their pensions for a number of years and will have to go out and find work in their 60s.
This has a knock on effect for the families of these women. Husbands and partners find themselves working longer or more hours than they planned, to fill the gap in household finances. Women who were looking forward to taking care of grandchildren, to help their own children get back into work, now find that they are having to go back to work themselves. Women who gave up work to care for older relatives, now find they can’t afford to give the time they would like.
As part of the WASPI National Day of Local Action I will be out with local campaigners, collecting signatures, to petition MPs to rethink the speed of these changes. We will be out on Hucknall High Street on Friday September 2, collecting signatures on the petition so please come and speak to one of the campaigners and learn more about the proposed changes. Visit www.waspi.co.uk for more information.