Isle of Wight councillors will debate a motion calling for compensation for women affected by State Pension age increases at next Wednesday’s Full Council meeting.
More than 3.8million women born in the 1950s across the UK were affected by the Government’s decision to increase the State Pension age from 60 to 65, and later 66. There are approximately 11,000 affected women on the Isle of Wight, making up some 8% of the population, according to Office for National Statistics data.
Many of those affected were unaware of the proposed increase to their State Pension age, and missed vital opportunities to plan their retirements properly. Tens of thousands were plunged into poverty as a result.
The motion calls upon the council leader to write to the Work and Pensions Secretary, demanding a ‘swift resolution’ to remedy the injustices caused in the form of ‘an immediate compensation package’.
Local councillors previously backed a motion to support fair and fast compensation for WASPI women in 2016, making the Isle of Wight 1 of the first local authorities in the UK to declare their support.
Councillor Michael Lilley, who has brought the motion forward in support of WASPI women, says:
“Women born in the 1950s across the island have had their retirement plans devastated due to a catalogue of errors in Department for Work and Pensions’ handling of State Pension age changes.
“I’m proud to be supporting such tenacious campaigners at Wednesday’s Full Council as we continue to fight for fair and fast compensation for the injustices they face.”
Ahead of next week’s meeting, Isle of Wight women have spoken of the financial and emotional impacts on them. Some were forced to sell their homes and cars in order to meet rising food costs.
Rachel, a 68-year-old WASPI woman living in Alverstone, has said:
“I left school aged 15 in July 1970 and started work the following week. I left work during 1977 to start a family and stayed at home to bring up three children. I claimed child benefit during this time, and I had a few part time jobs that worked around still being at home for the children.
“When my youngest child started high school I changed jobs for a part time position and later a different full time job and I was offered a work pension for the first time.
Article continues below this advertisement
“The NHS workload was too much by 59 years of age and feeling exhausted I decided to leave the following year when I was 60 as I would be receiving my State Pension. It was only when a work colleague informed me that the pension age had changed to 66 that I was first aware of the change.
“I had not received a letter informing me of the change so I went online and filled in a form on the Government website. When I received a reply it was the first time that I had anything in writing informing me about the changes, 6 years longer to wait than I thought.
“I had already made retirement plans to help with my new Grandchild so that my Daughter could return to work, and also to help my parents as Dad was unwell and Mum was finding it hard to cope.
“Dear Dad passed away and Mum was lonely and then developed dementia. Mum moved closer to family members and we all help to look after her up to this day.
“The small NHS lump sum and work pension and some money that Dad left me helped for the first 3 years after I retired, and then I had to rely on my NHS pension and share my husband’s pension, until I received my state pension 9 weeks after my 66th birthday.
“I am very lucky compared to many of the 1950s women as I still have a husband who can support me, but I am still very angry that I was not informed about the changes many years earlier with a personal letter. I am a member of the WASPI group and proud to be part of a group of women fighting for what we rightly deserve.
“I realise that the pension change had to come in line with the men’s pension, but it was the lack of communication which gave none of us time to consider and arrange our retirement plans”.
Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.