In a debate at Westminster, Barbara slammed Conservative Ministers for leaving many thousands of women in Salford with no financial protection after the Government accelerated changes which increased the State Pension Age for those women.
The Conservative-led Government brought in changes in 2011 which speeded up the increase in State Pension Age for women born in the 1950s. The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith said he would look at transitional protection for the women affected, but the Coalition Government never brought this in.
Barbara led a debate in Parliament on the issue in December and she joined MPs from other parties in getting another debate on the issue on January 7th. Conservative Ministers have said that EU Law was the reason they had to speed up the changes but research cited by Barbara has shown that this is not the case. In her speech, Barbara slammed the Tory Minister for trying to hide behind EU Law when other EU countries are making the changes at a much slower rate and are also taking measures to protect people vulnerable to the changes.
Support for the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign is gaining support amongst Labour MPs and MPs across all parties. The WASPI petition, calling for fair transitional arrangements, has gained over 108,000 signatures across the UK, including over 400 people in Salford.
A link to the WASPI petition to make fair transitional arrangements for the state pension for 1950’s women can be found here.
“This is a disgraceful situation. Women who expected to retire at 60 can now find themselves without a job, without a pension and without money to live on. I have been contacted by women in Worsley and Eccles South who are facing real hardship due to changes brought in by the Conservative-led Government in 2011. Women who cannot work are being forced to become job-seekers at 62, when many have worked and paid National Insurance all their lives. Others are carers or have health problems and are being forced to live off their savings.
“Women affected may be losing up to £36,000 in pension and pensioner benefits that they will not get, due to the Tories’ £30 billion pension grab from 1950s-born women. Tory Ministers have tried to argue that EU law required them to make these changes but I have found this is not the case. Other EU countries have made the changes more slowly and have brought in transitional protection for those affected.
“I will continue to push Government Ministers to bring in transitional protection for the thousands of 1950s-born women affected by George Osborne’s pension grab. WASPI and the women they represent are making reasonable demands and support for the campaign is growing. The Government cannot continue to ignore this issue.”