WASPI women protest in London against 'unfair' pension changes

WASPI women protest in London against 'unfair' pension changes
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Many women born in the 1950s are feeling robbed of their retirement, due to changes to the state pension age that sees some women claiming their pension many years after they expected to.

And this week thousands of these women from across the country marched on Westminster to protest about the changes, which many feel has left them out of pocket.

They timed the protest on June 29 to coincide with the anniversary of the day Emmeline Pankhurst marched to Parliament with hundreds of Suffragettes, to present a petition to Prime Minister Asquithe on June 29 1909.

Hundreds of the protesters and WASPI choir members sang their group anthem, with its message of unity, on the College Green calling for the Government to take notice and help those affected. Meanwhile, WASPI members and supporters met with a lobby of MPs.

Among the MPs braving the rain to join the demo outside the Houses of Parliament was SNP MP Mhari Black. “The very fact that we have managed to galvanise so many women throughout the whole of the UK, to realise that they have a common cause, that they have an injustice that must be fixed, is quite incredible,”she said. She added that “my mum’s a WASPI woman and she would kill me if I didn’t come out.”

WASPI co-founder Anne Keen, described the protest as the coming together of supporters angered at the UK Government’s “lack of response to this manifest unfairness”.

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The WASPI group also met with Baroness Ros Altmann on Wednesday where they pushed for fair transitional arrangements for the women affected by these changes. Baroness Altmann expressed a desire to find a way to help the 1950’s women and reminded them of all her work in 2011, but both she and Minister Vara claimed that there was no money available at the moment.

Altmann expressed a desire to ascertain the views of all women in a more systematic way, too but regretted that the DWP did not have the available funds to carry out this work themselves.
So WASPI agreed to explore with the APPG ways to conduct this survey on favoured options.

Since the 1940s women have had an expectation that they will receive their State Pension at 60. However, in 1995 the government increased women's State Pension age to 65 to bring it in line with men - and in 2011 the Chancellor upped everyone's retirement age to 66.

The changes made in 1995 came into effect from 2010 to 2020 as women's pension age gradually moved from age 60 to age 65 across this decade. The changes made in 2011 came into effect later, starting in 2016 as women's pension age was moved out to age 66 in stages according to date of birth with women born after 6 September 1954 seeing their pension age move from 64 and a half as a result of the 1995 Act to age 66 as a result of the 2011 Act.

So millions of women who thought they would be able to retire at 60 now have to wait years more before they become eligible for a state pension.

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