Government responds to Chi’s letter demanding recognition for working-class women

Following my Westminster Hall debate on the effect of state pension changes on working-class women, in which my questions to the minister Caroline Nokes were not answered, Iwrote to the Government demanding recognition for working-class women. You can read my letter here.

We have now received a response to the letter, which you can read below.

Whilst it is an improvement on the response of the Minister in the debate, in as much as he does refer to  ‘working class women’ he argues that because women in manual trades have the same life expectancy as men professionally employed, there is no unfairness.  He forgets that

  • professional men are more likely to have private pensions (81% versus 25%)
  • professional men are more likely to have started work after university and therefore later than women in manual trades
  • professional men will not have had their state pension age changed by seven years with a few months notice.

If such points did apply to men from professional backgrounds, you can be sure they would have received plenty of media attention…

I shall take the matter further with him.


25 thoughts on “Government responds to Chi’s letter demanding recognition for working-class women

  1. Lorraine McColl

    Same old drivel from Mr Harrington ! I would need to live to 131 to recoup the £36K I am losing between 60 and 66 at the rate of £550 a year !!! I am working class and I want my pension when I was expecting it !!

    1. Patricia Williams

      I have stumbled across the research briefing files by accident. I, like many others, was NOT notified of any changes by DWP. I was born on 7 October 1954 and am now not entitled to any SP until 2020. I have worked since 1972, despite having Renal Failure, diagnosed in 1975, 6+ years of dialysis and then a Kidney Transplant, 10 years ago. I did not expect to see 60. I worked up to the day I had my Transplant, not having claimed Incapacity Benefit. To add further insult to injury, any comments by Ministers that “other benefits are available” suggest that it might be preferable to be sick than be given our pension that we have contributed to! My current salary is approx £13500. How do I make up the £40,000 that my State Pension would have provided, should I still be alive on 7 October 2020 ??!! Still, as my Grandmother used to say, “If they give you nowt, you’ve nothing to thank ’em for!!!

  2. Brenda O'Carroll

    Today I am not interested in what may or may not happen in 2030, Today I am not interested in the feeble excuses of yet another Government ‘yes man’ who continues to treat women with absolute contempt. No amount of excuses from him will convince me that he has any thought for the dire positions that so many 1950’s women find themselves in through no fault of their own. We were the women who were openly discouraged from having access to further education, careers, buying property or even getting hire purchase agreements without ‘permission’ from men. Patted on the head and told to run along because we would get married and Hubby would look after us. My pension at 60 was some recompense for being treated like a second class citizen for so many years. It seems we are still being treated same way in 2017.

  3. She Merriott

    What a load of bollocks! Harrington lives on another planet, not the one us ladies live on that’s for,sure!! Worked from 15, lived through strikes and other hardships! Got health issues relating to the kind of work I have had to do over the years, not sat in a nice warm office! Do the right thing and give us ladies our pension we have worked for and paid in to!,

  4. Jackie Hill

    Jackie Hill
    Mr Harrington we are not going away, you need to take notice of all the Waspi women, we are strong and demand the money we are owed. We had no notice or very little notice and changes were implemented quickly, consequently we had no time to adjust to our new state pension age. Ignore us at your peril, this government have been voted in but can be voted out. We have thousands of women suffering severe hardship. You may not listen but you will suffer the consequences.

  5. Carolyn Wild

    What a total disgrace totally disgusting and a totally middle class governmental response . They will never ever get my vote again appalling response who the hell do they think they ate? .

  6. Audrey Winstanley

    Why has no one thought about discrimination as far as women are concerned we have to wait almost 6 years
    Age used to be 60 for women now we have to wait till we are allmost 66 years
    Men used to be 65 thre has not been a 6 year increase for them
    This seems so unfair

  7. jennifer regan

    thirty years from now history will look back on this era of so called reforms , How such a travesty against women born in the fifties has been allowed to happen is mystifying to say the least ! I agree we have come a fair way to a new more suitable future pension and it makes sense to encourage people to pay into a work pension , but these women born in the fifties had little or no chance of working once a family came along ( lack of proper affordable childcare available ) . They put their careers etc on hold to raise their family and then took menial low paid jobs to fit in with family life . Look back in history and see how valuable women were to the British workforce during the second world war . Then when the war was over , these women wanted to remain in work , but the government had different ideas . There was mass advertising by the government of the day to return to the kitchen sink and become a valued housewife ! We have a woman Prime Minister , she should hang her head in shame . Make your minds up Government of the Day , we women are and have always been the carers , recognise our worth and factor it in to your decision making ! I truly believe that we will see suicides through the mismanagment we see here .

  8. Jeannette mccormick

    Yeah Lorraine – me too!!! Fully paid up to this contract which the government are now stealing fr me. Jeannette

  9. Sandra coxsedge

    I want my pension too. When I’m 60 not 66. I will loose £54000. This has been stolen off me as far as I’m concerned. It’s despicable. Read in the daily mail on Saturday. All 650 MPs
    Over the last 2 years have seen their pay rise by £9000. Also, some of the country’s judges have been awarded an 11% pay rise. Which is quite a bit over the 1% the rest of us are meant to get. This government look after themselves and SOD THE REST OF US. Why do we have to pay for their luxury life style. And why is it women are always descriminated against. We work hard, as well as bring up our children, have husband and children’s dinner ready on time. Do all the washing, ironing, gardening, shopping. And in my case have always worked FULL time. I’m now tired I still work full time. And now I look after my grandchildren while my children go to work too. Fitting it all in is a surprise to me when I think if it. But it’s something I’ve always done. And will continue to do. BUT I WANT MY PENSION. Theresa May should be ashamed of herself.

  10. Claire turner

    I refer to paragragh 9 of the above letter mentioning ” automatic enrolment ” implying that this will further support us. I understand that this refers to the fairly recent work place pension scheme. I am employed by a small company working full time on the minimum wage and legally my employer does not have to enrol us on this scheme until April this year 2017 due to him having fewer employees than a larger company. This will only give me 6 years to contribute a very small amount from my very low pay (minimum wage )to a work place pension before I retire at 66 . Once again I feel penalised for being born in the fifties, let’s hope this can be resolved soon and we can receive are state pension that is due to us

  11. June odonnell

    Can the minister explain why a woman or man born june 1953 are entitled to their pension or pension credit last year but a man or woman born in the same year 1953 but in September does not qualify until march 2018
    Does he realise that women until the 1980s were not allowed to join company pension schemes

  12. Maggie Longley

    Same old same old!! Most women in our age group have had absolutely NO equality throughout the last 45-50 years and are now expected to just roll over and accept this daylight robbery. Well, sorry, we are just not going to! Join us on the 8th March for the rally in London.

  13. Jennifer French

    You really are missing the point. I don’t care that I’m living longer. I do care that my pension was promised to me at 60 and my life was planned accordingly. I have had no opportunity to earn extra pension as finding out 3 years ago I had to work till I was 66 was certainly a shock.
    I am all for equality but also justice must be seen to be done for those of us who did not get the legal minimum notice of change.

  14. Elaine Caig

    Drivel. I bet his pension is far greater than I will ever have. Missing the point that we didn’t have time to put a private pension in place when the government changed the goalposts. ?

    1. Lorraine McColl

      I hope all commenters are aware of WASPI campaign and will be turning out on 8th at Westminster in protest. Also protest in Glasgow SECC 4th . This Government need a lesson in decency !

  15. Catherine Edwards

    You won’t beat these Conservatives no matter what. They hate the working class.
    I worked from 12 years old serving petrol on a weekend and delivering papers night and morning.
    The Goverment will never do the right thing and pay us our pension. I will be 65 and 6 months before I get my pension. My husband gets his at 65 . It’s not fair. Why should he get his before me. He is a year older than me.
    I have no faith in any thing this goverment says it will do. We need a goverment who understands the people. Stop giving aid to foreign countries and pay us our pension
    That’s all I have to say as no one will read this any way

      1. Jackie Hill

        Stay strong never give up. Join a local Waspi group and send your letters. TOGETHER we will win, unity is power. March in London 8th March 2017. Be inspired .

    1. Karen Cooke

      When I divorced in 1996 (a year after the 1995 act) the solicitor never mentioned the fact that my retirement age was going to be 65. As part of my settlement I had to sign an agreement to say that I would not touch my husband pension. At the time I was going through a breakdown as my husband had left me for my friend, so I did not really take in the consequences.
      My ex husband retired very comfortably at age 55 (5 years ago) I am now 60 and still working full time. I have hardly any private pension as I supported my ex during his career working several part time jobs and looking after our children and his mother.

  16. Vee turner

    I agree with you Elaine,if we would have known years ago we would have done something about it , shame on you this government, I would like to see you live on the bread line. It’s a disgrace, I would never vote for this government again, they give away billions to others but don’t look after their own, we have payed in so give us our money.

    1. vivien wills

      I still have had no reply to letters sent asking why MPS JUDGES and CIVIL SERVANTS can ALL STILL RETIRE at 60. why are they exempt.

  17. Jill Martin

    Some of us were working before the equal pay act and did similar work to men for less money. When I started work I got the same pay but they promoted men. Indeed, at one interview I was told “We want a lad” This wasn’t illegal back then and it was seen as a way of paying men more than women. I did not see any change until the mid nineties, and even then I was struggling on the promotion ladder despite achieving a degree qualification. Yes I paid into a workplace pension, but the guy who started at the same time as me has accrued a larger pension due to being favoured just for being male

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