On the eve of International Women’s Day, Chi Onwurah will be presenting a petition to the House of Commons on behalf Newcastle Central constituents urging the Government to make fair transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have unfairly suffered the increase to the State Pension Age.
The petition states that as a result of the way in which the 1995 Pension Act and the 2011 Pension Act were implemented, women born on or after 6 April 1951 have had significant changes imposed on them with little or no personal notice. Many women have found themselves having to work much longer, without time to make alternative retirement plans.
This issue has recently been brought to public attention by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI). WASPI believes in pension equalisation, but does not agree with the unfair way these changes have been implemented, arguing that many women’s retirement plans have been shattered.
Chi recently highlighted how the implementation of these changes has disproportionately affect working class women in a debate in Westminster Hall:
“That is especially the experience of working-class women of that generation, who are more likely to have started work immediately after leaving school at 15, and who are also more likely to be in manual trades, which take a greater toll on the body as it ages.”
For many of these women, being told at short notice that they must work an extra six years has had disastrous effects. This is the reality for many working class women in Newcastle, who have grafted hard for their whole lives – probably since their teens – only to be told they must work longer. These women deserve to have been given notice so that alternative retirement plans could have been made.
In her speech, Chi went on to state that there is a sense of a broken contract between the state and hardworking citizens:
“The failure to give adequate notice means that the changes could not have been planned for. The consequences of many life decisions that WASPI women have taken are now that they face many years of reduced income that they could not have anticipated.”
The Labour Party has called for transitional arrangements for these women and has laid out a fully costed plan to return their eligibility for pension credits to the timetable of the 1995 Act. This petition calls on the government to take action and give these women the fair retirement they deserve.