LETTER OF THE WEEK: Retirement proposals are rushed, unfair and wrong
Imagine starting work at 15 in the mid 1960s, paying your taxes and National Insurance contributions for well over 40 years and then discovering, purely by chance, that your state pension age has been increased by five to six years.
This is the injustice our government is quite happy to impose on a group of women born in the early 1950s – a group of women who paid their taxes in good faith and expected to receive their state pension at 60.
On the eve of their expected retirement, these women have seen their state pension age increase twice under State Pension Reforms dated 1995 and 2011.
Many have seen their pension age jump from 60 to 66 in one leap.
This group of women understand and accept the move towards the equalisation of state pension age for men and women.
What they object to is the way these changes have been rushed through and unfairly implemented. For example, the government didn’t bother to notify women of these changes until 2012 (following the Pension Act 2011).
Many 1950s women were unaware of the changes and made personal, professional and financial decisions based on getting their state pension at 60.
These women now face financial hardship because they didn’t receive sufficient notice of the changes and haven’t had time to make up the huge financial loss.
To make matters worse, there is no logic or consistency in how the pension age increases have been applied to this group of women.
Two women born just nine months apart will have a 25 month difference in their new state pension age.
How can the government justify this difference?
The government is either incapable of phasing in these changes in a fair way or they consider 1950s women an easy money saving target!
It is also worth reminding your readers that this is a group of women who haven’t known much equality in their lives.
They brought up their children without the benefit of modern child care support and most were denied the opportunity to contribute to personal pension schemes because they worked part-time.
Others have divorce settlements which were based on getting their state pension at 60.
This same group of women are now shouldering the burden of the government’s pension reforms.
The government is clearly guilty of maladministration regarding the communication and implementation of state pension reforms and our local MPs need to support the thousands of local women who have been adversely affected.
If you are one of the women affected by the government’s pension reforms or you want to support someone who is, please add your voice to the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.
The WASPI campaign has been very successful in putting pressure on the government to review the increases in state pension age for women born in the 1950s.
A back bench committee debate is scheduled for December 14, and a Private Members Bill will receive its second reading in April 2018.
If you want to join the WASPI movement or simply find out more about the campaign go to www.waspi.co.uk or email [email protected]
Fion Silvanna Harvey
On behalf of Corby WASPI group