Unison joins demo as MP says women are 'destitute' after changes
Women born in the 1950s whose pensions were delayed by five years will protest outside parliament during today’s budget, as the head of one of Britain’s biggest unions calls for compensation for this ‘historic pensions wrong’.
A rally organised by Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), coinciding with International Women’s Day, will protest the changes brought in by John Major’s Tory government in 1995, which pushed back the age women receive pensions from 60 to 65.
The move affected around 2.6 million women, many of whom didn’t find out until 2009 that they would have to work longer, and who would have made different pension arrangements had they known.
The delay was compounded by the loss of earnings women suffer through the gender pay gap.
Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris told the BBC that women in Wales, where 135,000 are affected, were made ‘destitute’ by the change, and now rely on food banks. She said:
“Some women are selling their homes in order to be able to survive, living off savings which are rapidly running out and I don’t think it’s fair, having in some way shape or form contributed to society all their lives.”
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison, who will be speaking at today’s protest, said:
“Any changes to state pension age should have happened fairly. No-one should have lost out financially because of changes they weren’t told about.
The government should stop looking the other way and come up with a plan that compensates the millions of women hit by the move.”
He added that women could have ‘put aside extra money to see them through into old age’ had they known about the changes, adding:
“International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for the government to put right this historic pensions wrong.”
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said the change ’20 years ago’ equalised men and women’s retirement age, and that women receive years more pension than men because they live longer.
The protest will take place from 1pm in the Old Palace Yard, Abingdon Street, Westminster, next to Westminster Abbey.
Keep up to date with today’s budget by following our budget live blog.
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