‘Unfair and wrong’: women in pension age rise campaign

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaking in the House of Commons (submitted). SUS-151222-153823001
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaking in the House of Commons (submitted). SUS-151222-153823001

HUNDREDS of women across the Herald and Gazette patch have urged the Government to take action after the age they were entitled to draw their state pensions was raised with little notice.

Women born in the 1950s can no longer access their state pension at the age of 60, after measures were introduced to equalise men and women’s pension ages.

The changes were confirmed several years ago but thousands across the country only realised months before they planned to retire, claiming they had little or no notice from the Government.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign has launched a petition, signed by more than 700 people across the area, calling for transitional arrangements to compensate.

Carolyn Larner, 59, of Lynchmere Avenue, Lancing, said: “A lot of people are still not aware of the situation.

“1950s women are not going to sit back and take it. It is just unfair and it is wrong.”

The state pension age for women was raised to 65 as a result of the 1995 Pension Act, with changes accelerated a further act in 2011. Campaigners agree with equalisation but believe the lack of notice was unfair.

Mrs Larner, who only noticed her pension age had risen to 66 when she requested a personal pension statement this year, said: “It was a shock because you expect to retire and I didn’t want to keep on working.”

Angela Heasman, 60, of Ropetackle, in Shoreham, noted many women had no private pension to fall back on. She was notified of the change in 2013 – just 18 months before she planned to retire.

She said: “I am working part time at the moment but I have got very severe osteoarthritis so what concerns me is I don’t know how much longer I can carry on working.”

Amanda Lannon, 61, of Littlehampton, said the issue had knock-on effects, with women unable to get their bus pass until they reached state pension age.

WASPI’s petition has attracted more than 90,000 signatures, with a key debate in Parliament to take place on January 7. Mrs Heasman and Mrs Larner have praised the work of East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, who has supported the WASPI campaign.

In a podcast, he said: “I am in favour of equalising the pension age but what I think has been missed here is the fact that those women were given very little notice and in some cases just a year or 18 months before the changes came in.”

The changes apply to those born on or after April 6, 1951. Anyone potentially affected should contact their MP.