Call to '˜get justice' on women's pension changes

A call to '˜get justice' for women who face being '˜short changed retrospectively' by pension changes has been repeated by East Worthing and Shoreham's MP.

Tuesday, 11th July 2017, 5:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:46 am
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaks during a WASPI debate in Westminster Hall.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, speaks during a WASPI debate in Westminster Hall.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign was started after women born in the 1950s could 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 hundreds of thousands of women across the country only realised months before they planned to retire, claiming they had little or no notice from the Government.

They are calling for fair transitional arrangements, but Government minister Guy Opperman was heckled during a Westminster Hall debate last Wednesday (July 5) when he suggested apprenticeships as a possible solution.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said it was essential to keep united on an ‘important campaign’ to ensure WASPI women’s voices ‘are heard loud and clear in this place until we get justice for them’.

He added: “It is worth reminding ourselves that the state pension system is founded on a contributory principle. It is not a state benefit, for which no prior commitment is involved. Yet that group of women, who have been paying national insurance contributions over many years in good faith and have fulfilled their end of the deal, face being short-changed retrospectively. That is the nub of this injustice.

“There is an unfair, disproportionate burden on women born in the 1950s. We have heard so much about the poor communication—they were not made aware of what they were going to face—and the promise of transitional ​arrangements that have still not materialised, despite various ministers saying they would.

“In my view, that represents a breach of trust for those hundreds of thousands—indeed, millions—of women who worked hard, did the right thing and did their bit all their life. The problem is more widespread than we were ever led to believe. It threatens real hardship for many of our constituents now—not at some stage in the future, but absolutely now.

“This problem is not going to go away. I hope that, with a new minister and a new secretary of state, we can have a new start and a clean break, and that we can recognise this injustice and do something about it at long last.”

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