Protest call over change to state pension age

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 February 2016

Mary King volunteering for Riding for the Disabled, with Will on a horse

Mary King volunteering for Riding for the Disabled, with Will on a horse

Archant

A Welwyn Garden City mother is appealing to women in Welwyn Hatfield born in the 1950s to protest against unexpected changes to the state pension age.

Mary King, 61, of Beauchamps, has called on women to join the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign. The WASPI action group campaigns against the changes made to the state pension age for women born on or after April 6, 1951.

Mrs King, who is married to Steve and has two children, Stuart, 32, and Kristina, 26, said: “I am one of the lucky ones, I have an occupational pension. My grievance is to help the ladies who are utterly dependent on state pensions, and who like me have had their state pension moved.

“I was at work and a friend said: ‘Do you not realise they have changed the state pension age to 62?’ It was then moved to 64. I was made redundant at 55 knowing I would get my pension at 64 and a half, and after I took the redundancy it was then changed again to 66.”

“It is nothing to do with equality. The pension age should be the same for men and women, it’s the lack of information, the lack of contact and the speed at which it has been done.

“There was no formal notification.”

Mrs King, who used to work as a sales assistant for John Lewis, has now got in touch with Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps and urges other women to get in touch with their MPs.

She said: “I am not asking them [the Government] to put the state pension age back to 60. We are asking for transitional arrangements before we get to 66. There are so many ladies in poor health who are not able to work. Many are widowed, divorced or carers for elderly parents or partners.”

The WASPI e-petition had reached 100,000 signatures,including 187 signatures from Welwyn Hatfield constituents, securing a debate in Parliament on February 1.

However there was no change of heart from the Government.

In a statement the Government said: “State Pension age changes were first made in 1995. All women affected have been directly contacted.”

To sign the e-petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776

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