COLMUNIST: Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) demonstrate in Sheffield

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Are you a woman born in the 1950s?

Did you expect to get your state pension at 60? WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality campaigns for you.

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Many women born in the 1950s started work at 15 years old, and have worked for more than 40 years paying into the NI fund expecting to retire at 60. Successive governments have increased the state pension age – firstly in 1995, then again in 2011.

Unfortunately, no-one thought to tell us! Some women received letters only 2 years before their expected retirement date informing them that their state pension age was up to 6 years later! Some women still haven’t been informed!

6 years “lost” pension adds up to an income loss of at least £36,000. We can’t make that up given only 2 years notice! We saved all our working lives so that we could have a few treats in retirement – those savings are now being used to plug this massive income gap.

We believe in equality and are not asking the government to reverse the changes to state pension age. We are asking for fair transitional arrangements for all women affected. One cohort of women should not have to suffer such a major change. Yes, changes need to be made – but not all at once, and definitely not in secret!

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WASPI is a national campaign, with more than 140 local groups all over the UK. Some 21,000 women living in Sheffield are affected by this scandal. Isn’t it about time we all get together and do something about it?

The first meeting of the Sheffield WASPI group was held on Friday 19 May. Women attending were so incensed by the unfairness of the delay in receiving their pensions that they decided to join in the WASPI National Day of Local Action demonstration. We met at the Women of Steel statue to raise awareness by handing out leaflets and telling women about the group. One 58 year old woman we spoke to still expected to receive her state pension at 63. . . . she won’t see a penny until she’s at least 66!

We have a lot of support across Sheffield from the political candidates. Former labour MPs Louise Haigh (Sheffield Heeley); Clive Betts (Sheffield Central); Gill Furniss (Brightside & Hillsborough) and Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge) have all signed the WASPI pledge. The liberal democrat candidate for Sheffield Heeley, Joe Otten, has also signed the WASPI Pledge. Other candidates have been approached and we await their responses.

If you are a woman born in the 1950s and want to do something about your lost pension, join us. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 13th June at 7.30pm in the Foyer, 2 Spring Lane, Sheffield S2 2JQ.

Email Carolyn at sthyorkssheffwaspi@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. Look at waspi.co.uk for more information about the campaign.