WASPI – Women against state pension inequality
In his Budget statement on 30 November 1993, the then Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ken Clarke, announced that the Government had decided to equalise the State Pensionable Age (SPA) to 65. This meant the age at which state pension would be paid for men and women would change so that both would retire at age 65.
The legislation to enact this was the Pensions Bill 1995. The change would not start for 15 years and would be phased in over ten years starting in 2010.
This meant that no one would be affected until 2010 and that there would be a gradual phasing in of the increased retirement age over a ten year period between 2010 and 2020. So by 2020 everyone would retire at 65.
What the conservatives did next..
However, in 2011 the Conservative led Coalition Government decided to change the state pension age to 66 by 2020. To do this they accelerated the original 1995 timetable for change so that everyone would have a SPA of 65 in 2018 rather than 2020 as planned.
In 2014 the Conservative Government decided to accelerate the planned rate of change for increasing the age to 68 so that state pension age would be 67 in 2028.
Again, no notice was sent to the affected individuals.
Women born in the 1950s argue they have been hit particularly hard with significant changes to their State Pensionable Age imposed with a lack of appropriate notification.
In many cases women have been left with a 6 year pension deficit.
Brighton Hill has a very high percentage of women born in the 1950’s at risk because of these unfair pension changes.
The first women to be affected by the increased age would be those born in 1950. All women born during 1950-1955 would have their pensionable age increased on a sliding scale for ten years. In 2020 all women would retire at 65 – those born in 1st April 1955 onwards.
In 2007 the retirement age was increase to 68 and this was to be introduced between 2024 and 2046. This was planned to happen over a 22 year transition period after the change to 65 would be completed in 2020.
… and the misery it caused.
The effect of this was a “double whammy” for a specific group of women born in the 1950’s who would now by subjected to significant change over a very short period of time.
For example, a woman born in September 1954 originally expected to retire at 60, this was changed to 64, then changed to 65 and changed yet again to 66.
These changes have had devastating effects on significant numbers of women. Some made life decisions such as accepting early retirement or voluntary redundancy in the mistaken belief they were due to receive a state pension which did not then materialise.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said “The income poverty rate among 60 to 62-year-old women was pushed up substantially,” Before the changes women aged 60-62 had average weekly individual incomes of £234, but now these weekly incomes were £50 less.
According to the IFS the rates of absolute income poverty, which means having an income below 60 per cent of the average — rose 8.7 per cent before housing costs, from 14.7 per cent pre-pension changes.
Sue was born 1954 expected and planned to receive her state pension at 60 in 2014. Was told in 2012 she couldn’t retire until 2020 at 66. A 2 year notice of a 6 year change.
Anita was told just before she was 60 that her State Pension would be delayed until she was 62. Not long afterwards she was then told she would not get her pension until she was 65. Two changes due to the double whammy effect. Less than 2 years notice of a 5 year change.
So far the Basingstoke Borough Council has not signed up to supporting fairer transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950’s in the same way that many other councils have. To do so would strengthen to message to the government that action is needed.
If elected I promise to lobby the council to take this step so that the financial future of affected women in Brighton Hill has a greater prospect of protection.
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