Sofa-surfing and queuing for the food bank are not where a generation of women who are now in their 60s ever predicted after a lifetime of active work and child-rearing. But since the Government shifted the goalposts, twice, adjusting the age at which women born in the 1950s could claim their state pension, more and more are finding themselves homeless and poverty-stricken.
Without exception, they’re resentful and furious at what they define as daylight robbery with each one, on average, short-changed by well over £40,000 by the time they reach pensionable age, and there have been widespread reports lately of women in pension limbo-land who are scraping by on only £3 a week.
The 1995 Pensions Act to equalise the age of entitlement of the state pension for men and women to 65 was expected to be phased over ten years, totalling four-and-a-half working years for women. But in 2011 this change was ratcheted up by an added 18 months, leaving countless women having to wait until they’re 66 to claim their state pension.
For millions, it came as a blow, and globally, they profess to never have received a notification telling them what was going to happen, and now as coach-loads of them plan to gather in London next month, cutting a purple drape across the capital in their trademark colour, the Gloucestershire group will be heralding the campaign call, loud and clear.
Following 2015 there has been an increasing campaign around the country of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) advocates. The government has stolen money that is rightfully theirs and it didn’t even tell them until it was far too late for most of them to make plans.
Maud Lomberg, coordinator for Cirencester hasn’t however met anyone who has been in receipt of a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) setting out the Government’s plans. Some women in demanding jobs took early retirement, entirely assuming they could survive until their pension kicked in at 60, and abruptly they discovered they had an additional six years to wait, and there are women out there who are still oblivious of the changes.
It was all forced through without fuss with the overall opinion that a group of old women wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyhow, and if that was the reasoning behind it, the decision-makers seriously underestimated this generation of women.
And now women resent that they’ve been cheated of their retirement plans, and who are the Government to turn their lives upside down like this? These women paid their contributions and they had a contract that they would go to work and pay in and retire at 60, and now the Government has taken what is legitimately theirs, and the Government simply assume they can simply get away with it.
And some women who were born in 1955 have been told by the DWP that because of the delay, they will not even break even on their state pension until they reach their 86th birthday. Most women don’t even reach their 86th birthday, but that’s the whole intent. You work all your life, you pay into your state pension, but you won’t even get it if you’re dead so they would have paid all that money for absolutely nothing.
And presently pensions are a complex trail of correspondence, which leaves them baffled and discouraged and makes them feel like they’ve worked for nothing, and all of them feel greatly let down by the Government.
Some have resigned themselves to the fact that they will have to work until they’re 66 but what they find especially discouraging is that despite having 48 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions they have been told that they will need to continue paying as long as they’re working, no surprise most young people don’t want to go to work because they’re not crazy enough to let the government take advantage of them.
In 2016 the amount of qualifying years of paying National Insurance was also changed, increasing from 30 to 35, and numerous women of that generation didn’t have salaries as high as men’s and weren’t permitted to pay into pensions and certainly couldn’t afford private pensions, and to be handled like this is contemptible.
How on earth are our children now supposed to have faith in a system that has failed us so terribly?
Most women in the 1955 bracket have worked laboriously since they were 15 years old, they have brought up a family and now want to use what years they have left enjoying their grandchildren and supporting their children, and should be able to do so on the pension they were guaranteed they would get at 60.
In the last year, food has been given out to women at food banks, but the food bank was only supposed to be for short-term emergency relief, but these women will require relief for years in some circumstances, and the Government maintains it’s delivering balance by shifting the pension age for women and then they have the temerity to say it’s long overdue.
The Government are now telling women in their 60s to retrain or take on apprenticeships, which leaves me as a woman boiling with rage. Even if they did retrain or take on apprenticeships they wouldn’t get work afterwards because most businesses want young blood, people who are in it for the long haul and aren’t going to keel over and die on them.
The Government are simply fleecing everyone, making them think that they will get work afterwards but of course they won’t. The Government primarily want you to work until they bleed you dry, it’s all about accumulating money and hoping that they will work you into the ground so they don’t have to pay you any state pension at all.
These women are morally and contractually entitled to their pensions, and there’s been a clear rise in poverty amongst 60-62-year-old women, and the number of women aged over 60 are now claiming benefits, and that has more than increased since 2013, and there’s been a five-fold rise in the number of women over 60 made to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Women have been pressured to sell their homes because of the fiscal cliff edge they face, but it’s not that women want to be treated differently, but women born in the 1950s are bearing the brunt of a change that’s been introduced too fast.
The chairman of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has presented a Private Member’s Bill on this matter which is currently awaiting a debating opening and also currently waiting is the Government’s coming Pensions Bill, which would be a fitting vehicle to execute the campaign demands on in the form of amendments.
But according to the Government, this is all being done in the interest of fairness! There is nothing fair about this at all, everyone pays National Insurance contribution for their state pension, and I emphasise PAID. Many work laboriously all their life, and the single thing they have to look forward to is that pension, so they can then decompress with their families, their grandchildren, and their children.
Now it’s a work till you drop shop because the Government want to conserve cash, which suggests they twisted the facts to everyone by moving the goal posts, but they’re more than prepared to allow asylum seekers into the United Kingdom and give them what they want at the drop of a hat.
And the Prime Minister Theresa May should intercede and address the potential solutions of recompense because the Governments reforms were executed quicker than agreed and left women with no time to make alternative arrangements, which have reached overwhelming consequences, and now the Government should be pulling towards a suitable solution.
A remarkable 3.8 million women have been affected by the state pension rise, and every day there are women who are struggling to make ends meet, women who can’t afford to pay their bills, women who have had to sell their homes to get by, women who are now reliant on their families for their income, women who are no longer able to provide care to loved ones and are forced to return to work, women who are sofa surfing or sleeping in cars.
Women were given little to no notification of the exceedingly significant increase in their retirement age, and all have experienced a loss of income, with some losing as much as £45,000 as a consequence, and now the aim is to get the government to reconsider pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have or will be financially deprived by the variations to balance the state pension age between men and women, and acknowledge the costings for three solutions.
Countless women have worked laboriously for 49 years full time on low pay and have never claimed benefits in their life but were informed when they were 59 that they had to work another 6 years. These women believed they would be safe after paying National Insurance contributions for 49 years but now they’re still having to work which is pretty distressing for them.
These women paid into a system called National Insurance contributions, they paid and it should be theirs and if they had been paying into a private pension and that occurred, the company would have been taken to court and been made to pay what they were in debt to at the age that they said they would get their money, but the Government appear to be unmindful of this reality, and they appear to believe that they’re beyond any crime, and it’s simply a bullying strategy by our Government.
The state pension was recognised by Parliament, but Parliament appears to have the power to shift state benefits when they like, but this is what equality looks like folks.
Of course, the Government will tell you that they don’t have the reserves to do that, not unless they’re on the set of “Back to the future.”, and they have some kind of DeLorean machine…
Most women that we’re talking about are in their fifties or sixties, most of the men will be younger and won’t remember an era when women didn’t work full time but stayed at home and cared for their family.
Many women were frowned upon if they returned to work, therefore the opportunity to pay the small stamp duty so that they could use their husband’s contributions to claim their state pension.
Women had limited worth in the working environment, this is the environment that women from that era knew, and very few women had any aspirations or a working career.
The reforms to state pension were induced stealthily and the large preponderance of women really didn’t know what the switches meant for them, and the odds were actually stacked against women born in the fifties, and reading the Financial Times was just not considered for most women except if they worked in finance, but the Government wants to punish women for neglecting to read government pamphlets et cetera.
Our Government is unable to confirm that they notified women, and the Government failed fifties women, and two former ministers acknowledged that and the Government through the former chancellor said that to increase the ages of women’s state pension was the simplest way to save money he knew, so where’s the equality in that comment?.
These women paid into their National Insurance contributions towards their state pension regardless of their financial stature. They entered into what should have been recognised a promise to pay those contributions until their 60th birthday, and then receive a reimbursement founded on those contributions.
To amend the terms and conditions so harshly for some is totally insufferable to any decent person, and if you had taken an endowment or a pension out with an end date and the Insurance company said you’re going to have to wait another 6 years to get your money because we haven’t got the money now to pay you, I think that person would get really upset, but only our Government would expect to get away with it.
But to add insult to injury, after all these women have paid towards the NHS and pensions all their lives, the Government is now saying they want them to voluntarily pay more to help with the cost of the elderly as the elderly now have the audacity to live longer!
I’m not sure if people are really living longer like the Government have stated, in fact, if anything its flatlined a little, so the mystery is, why is the Government telling us they need to raise the pension age?
Furthermore, where is all that National Insurance money going to, that people have paid in? Maybe pensions shouldn’t be under the authority of the Government and should be controlled by an autonomous body who make sure that the money is put in the proper pension pot.
This Government isn’t for the people, it’s immoral and unfair, and we must petition to change this, not just for ourselves but for our future generations.