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Q&A - Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI)

(91 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 11-Sep-17 14:48:11

As many of you will already know from the various discussions we've had on the subject, WASPI is a campaigning group representing almost 3.5 million women born in the 1950s who have been negatively impacted by the lack of notification of the increases in their State Pension age.

WASPI is campaigning to end the huge financial difficulties suffered by this group of women because of the way the changes in the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts were implemented. Successive Governments did not give the women affected by these changes sufficient notice that their State Pension age would be increasing, meaning that WASPI women have had no time to put in place alternative financial arrangements to see them through to the new state retirement age. Some women have lost as much as £45,000.

Founded by just five ordinary women in 2015, the WASPI movement has grown and now has over 70,000 supporters and 140 local groups across the UK. WASPI has secured support from the Labour, SNP, DUP and Women and Equalities parties and has raised £100,000 through CrowdJustice to fund an initial legal campaign.

Jane Cowley is Communications and PR Director for WASPI and has directed the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign since 2016. Like so many WASPI women, Jane heard in 2011, only after she had taken early retirement, that she would not receive her pension until she was nearly 66.

If you would like to ask Jane about any aspect of WASPI's work, aims and/or anything else to do with pension inequality, simply add your question to this thread before Monday, 25 September.

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 12:35:19

Agreed, Day6. As another of the worst affected, losing 6 years of SPA, I fully appreciate that the state pension age has to be equalised for men and women. I would accept a loss of 6 to 12 months pension as part of a fair and gradual move towards equalisation. This is how it has worked in other countries, but unfortunately successive UK governments have ignored the issue for years then rushed it through by throwing us under the bus. Like you, I have a small occupational pension that I paid for over many years, so cannot claim any benefits. I was made redundant just before my 60th birthday and decided to help my DC with childcare as I always promised I’d do when I retired. They needed me then, not 6 years down the line. I know I am luckier than many, but we are eating into the savings we thought would be our cushion in later years. Many women are in desperate straits. At the WASPI demos, I have spoken with some of them, including two who have had to sell their homes, and one with a terminal illness who knew she would not live to get hers but was still fighting.

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 12:42:36

To be fair, my understanding is that just about all occupational pension schemes have changed enormously over the last years - later retirement ages, huge increase in employee contributions and for many loss of a defined benefits scheme in favour of money purchase and all this without employee approval. As an unaffected person re the state pension, however, whilst I accept there had to be equalisation upwards to 65, the great injustices are not having a fool proof system of notifying every woman when the charge in legislation actually happened and secondly not just doing it incrementally a month at a time as I believ3 it first started to happen. As for the level of the SP, I believe we have one of the lowest amongst the major Eiropean countries. Labour tried to improve this way back with SERPS but that has now gone. A real turning point was when MT broke the link between pensions and earnings

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 20:06:44

True, maryeliza54, many occupational pension schemes have changed a lot recently as well, and not usually for the better, unfortunately. But in the case of mine at least, the conditions stayed the same for any member up to ten years away from their retirement date, and we all received letters telling us about the changes and how they would affect us. There was a consultation period as well, when we were invited to comment, not that the more cynical amongst us thought it would make a blind bit of difference....

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 22:15:51

On the other hand there were the occupational pension schemes like Maxwells.......and BHS. I really am not saying that what’s happened with the state pension is OK because bad things happen with other pensions. I suppose what the whole sorry mess tells us is that we ( collectively) have not taken pension provision seriously enough in this country for a long time and have been willing to put up with politicians who didn’t want to have well funded pensions ( for the hoi polloi because it would have meant higher taxes- or less generous tax allowances for those in receipt of high salaries and excellent pension schemes.

Maggiemaybe Sun 29-Oct-17 22:51:27

Yep, I’ve got (or rather haven’t got) one of those pensions as well, maryeliza. grin I could be a poster girl for pension schemes good, bad and disappeared. Three years (fortunately, just three years) paying into a scheme in the 70s that was embezzled by its trustees. They went to jail, but that was no comfort to the people who lost out. And then we WASPIs are told by our critics that we should have made better provision for our old age. Easier said than done, especially when so many of us had periods of working part-time in an era when it was okay to deny part-timers membership of a pension scheme.

I’d like to think things could be better for our children, but I’m afraid they’re on track to be much, much worse.

maryeliza54 Sun 29-Oct-17 23:06:47

It’s all a mess isn’t it - no wonder those that could invested in buy to let as a pension pot and look where that’s got us.

Harris27 Sat 07-Apr-18 22:19:08

I'm 58 married in poor health and will have to work till 66 . Working in childcare for a pittance.just want yo have some options before I retire. If id known sooner I would of tried harder to get out off my otrsdnt job.

Harris27 Sat 07-Apr-18 22:19:47

Sorry present job.

gillybob Sun 08-Apr-18 08:51:08

I’m in a similar situation to you Harris27 I’m 56 and my pension forecast shows that I will be 68+ before I can retire. My DH and I have a just over 10 yea age gap and we had planned to retire together when he was 70 and I was 60. Out of the window now. Can he work until 78? I very much doubt it.

Harris27 Tue 10-Apr-18 21:36:16

Hi gillybob that's so unfair I feel for husband is only 3 years older than me and in much better health thank goodness . However what about the fact that the goal posts are moving rapidly we might not reach retirement, worrying thought.

paddyann Tue 10-Apr-18 22:21:46

Harris27 I believe thats the plan ,we'll all die before we can claim a pension...

MissAdventure Tue 10-Apr-18 22:44:05

68+ for me, at the moment.
Who knows, it may go up again? sad

Chewbacca Tue 10-Apr-18 22:47:12

Tend to agree with you paddyann. The WASPI movement seems to have ground to a halt; its been months since I saw anything in the news about anything new being discussed. I have a feeling that we've been kicked into the long grass.

gillybob Wed 11-Apr-18 07:28:24

I’m the same as you MissA (68+) and fear that with ever moving goalposts and all the extra stresses and strains thrown at us we may never reach that golden age of retirement . As Harris and Paddyann have said that is probably the general idea . sad

Grannybeth Wed 11-Apr-18 22:51:26

There's a meeting between the APPG and representatives from the various campaign groups on April 25th. The purpose is to discuss the findings of a survey the APPG did last year and to put in into Carolyn Harris' Private Memebers Bill which we hope will be heard after the summer recess. There's more cross party support for us 50's women so you never know......