Pension campaigners gather support in Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 15:29 14 July 2017

The east Hertfordshire group sent a delegation to a national demonstration to Parliament in March.

The east Hertfordshire group sent a delegation to a national demonstration to Parliament in March.

Archant

Women campaigners are mobilising support in the Welwyn Hatfield area to fight the Government for state pension rights.

About 30 women born between 1950 and 1960 have formed an east Herfordshire branch of the national Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign, and have been handing out leaflets in Welwyn Garden City.

Spokeswoman Lesley Flowers. 62, a retired teacher from Cole Green, explained that the campaign was inspired against pension changes implemented by the 1995 Pension Act.

She told the Welwyn Hatfield Tines: “We have no problem with women and men getting their pensions at the same age, but we were never told this was happening.

“If a private pension company had treated us like the Government has, we could sue them.”

They argue that the Government failed to notify women in 1995 that their state pension age was rising from 60 to 65, putting it in line with men in response to an EU directive.

The Government did not even start to write to affected women until 2009, and some were not told until the 2011 Pension Act raised the age to 66.

Fellow campaigner Carol Morley, of Hertford, said: “If I had known I could have made provision, such as a private pension.”

Consequently, Lesley said, women in the early 60s were being forced to take physically demanding manual jobs such as stacking supermarket shelves or cleaning.

She said: “There are women who are using food banks. Others have to sell their houses.”

Although they estimate the problem affects 3.44million women nationally, they have encountered widespread ignorance of pension ages when out campaigning in Welwyn Garden City.

Lesley said: “We want to get more women on board. The more voices behind us, the more notice the Government will take of us.”

The east Hertfordshire group attended a nationwide demonstration in Westminster in March, which called for transitional payments between the ages of 60 and 66, and held a “day of action” in Welwyn Garden City in May.

The group urges affected women to write letters of complaint to the Department of Work and Pensions in a bid to bolster the national campaign’s ongoing legal challenge for maladministration.

The group can be contacted at hertfordandeasthertswaspi@gmail.com or on 07729 621359, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

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