Pensions row takes women to Parliament

The inaugural meeting of the Berwick Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group.

The inaugural meeting of the Berwick Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group.

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Women from across Northumberland will be travelling to a mass demonstration in London next week to protest the lack of information given to them about their pensions.

The event, on Wednesday, June 29, coincides with the 1909 anniversary of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst marching to Parliament with hundreds of women to present a petition to Prime Minister Asquith.

Jane Cowley, a founder member of the Berwick-upon-Tweed WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) group, explained that in 1995, the Government changed the law so that the age at which a woman could receive a state pension would move in line with men to 65.

“Of course we support bringing about equality in pensions between men and women,” Jane said. “But the problem is that the Government didn’t inform women when they made the change in 1995.

“Then, in 2011, the Coalition Government decided that the new pension age of 65 would be brought in two years earlier in 2018 and for both sexes it would rise to 66 in 2020. Again many women weren’t informed of this change either.

“We are still meeting women in Northumberland who genuinely believe they will get their pension at 60.

“The lack of notice has caused real problems, not allowing women time to plan for their later retirement and pushing many into financial hardship, with women losing up to £40,000 in pension income.”

Undeterred by the 700-mile round trip, members of the Berwick WASPI group will be setting off early on Wednesday to meet their fellow campaigners opposite the Houses of Parliament.