On Tuesday 11 October Barbara led a session in the Commons at which petitions were presented from Worsley and Eccles South and 199 other constituencies across the UK.
The 200 petitions called on the Government to provide fair transitional arrangements for 1950s-born women who are being hit by changes to the state pension age. Barbara led the mass presentation of petitions in her role as the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary group on State Pension Inequality for Women.
The UK-wide petition was launched by the campaign group WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) supported by Barbara Keeley and many other MPs. Local groups of women born in the 1950s have been gathering signatures on the paper petitions, which were then presented to Parliament by Barbara and 89 other MPs of all parties.
The changes to the State Pension Age for women were started by the Conservative Government in 1995. In 2011, the Conservative-led Government accelerated the changes to the State Pension Age, increasing it for a second time for women who were born after 6th April 1950. The women who are worst affected have seen their State Pension Age increase from 60 to 66 years.
Many of the women received little or no notification, leaving little or no time to make savings or put plans in place. This has caused uncertainty, worry and financial hardship.
Barbara has been campaigning alongside the women affected, speaking in debates and at national and local days of action. She co-founded and chairs the cross-party group of MPs in Parliament which raises these issues.
“I am proud to present this petition to the House of Commons on behalf of 1950s-born women from across Worsley and Eccles South who have been affected by the changes to the state pension age. I also presented petitions for 98 other constituencies.
“Women born in the 1950s are being forced to bear the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age without any help or support from the Government.
“Over the next few years in Worsley and Eccles South alone, the Government’s changes will affect 3,700 women. I have spoken to women who now have no job, no pension and very little money to live on. Many are suffering terrible financial hardship. These are the generation who did not enjoy equality in pay or pensions. Many worked part-time as they were bringing up children or being carers. Now they are unjustly being denied the State Pension that they have worked for all their lives. They deserve better.
“I was pleased to lead the mass presentation of petitions on behalf of 1950s-born women. The strength of support for this campaign across the country is clear. I hope that the Government will now finally get the message, act on this injustice and provide the fair transitional support that the 1950s-born women need and rightly deserve.”