Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has taken objection to proposed state pension changes for women. The thrust of their argument is that the changes are happening too fast, and which is unfair on women born after 1951.
A WASPI spokesperson said that government “must make fair transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6 April 1951 who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the state pension age. Hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with a lack of appropriate notification.”
Age UK has also expressed concerns.
Last month, following an online petition which garnered over 140,000 signatures, the issue was debated in parliament. Unusually, the debate was well attended by MPs.
One Labour MP Helen Jones described the increases without notice as miss-selling, and that other EU countries had managed to do a better job of implementing transitional phases in regards to women and state pensions. She said:
“If this was a private pension, then this would be mis-selling.
“It’s not correct to blame this on the EU. Other EU countries have long transitional phases. In Austria, women’s statuary retirement age will be gradually adjusted to that of men by 2033. In France, retirement age will increase to only 61 from 2020.”
The issue has ignited due to government plans to raise the pension age for women to 66 by 2020, the same as men. Critics of the plan have said that it is too soon to raise the pension age, a claim refuted by Conservative MP Richard Graham.
He stated that to implement changes that WASPI wanted would cost £30 billion. He also said that as longevity projections increase so would pensions. He did concede that the changes should have been better communicated.
Sarah Pennells, found of the website of SavvyWoman said:
“The government does women born in the 1950s a great disservice by not taking their concerns – and indeed anger – seriously. It may be true that women and men are living longer, but government figures show that the difference between those who are living the longest and those who are not is widening.
“If you’ve not been given enough warning of the changes, especially if – as many women do – you rely on the state pension as your only or main source of income in retirement, it’s irrelevant.
“The rises in state pension age have consistently been the biggest issue for women I talk to. When these women started their working lives, often at 16 or 17, the workplace was very different from how it is today.”
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