On Wednesday 8 March 2017, I again showed my support for a mass lobby of Parliament organised by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign. UNISON were supporting the lobby and my Labour colleague and friend Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East who is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on WASPI, arranged for WASPI campaigners from Wales to meet and hear from their MPs. I was delighted to address the lobby.
I was proud to sign a pledge to call on the government to implement fair transitional arrangements for WASPI women affected by the State Pension Age changes. MPs from most political parties signed this pledge, representing the widespread concern of parliamentarians of this issue.
The campaign is fighting for compensation for women born on or after 6 April 1951 who are facing hardship in retirement as a result of the government’s changes to their state pension age.
The 1995 Pensions Act increased women’s state pension age to 65, the same as men's. At the time, many organisations recommended that the government should ensure that the women affected were given fair notice of the changes.
But these recommendations were ignored by the government and as a result hundreds of thousands of women have had no time to make alternative arrangements and their plans for retirement have been shattered.
It is totally unacceptable that these women are heading for financial hardship in old age because the government failed to communicate the changes with them effectively. I have been campaigning since I was elected for the government to reconsider their stance on this important issue and implement fair transitional State Pension arrangements so that WASPI women get the retirement they deserve.