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Elderly denied pensions are living in caravans and using foodbanks, campaigners warn

Women Against State Pension Inequality group attend Cities of London and Westminster hustings

02 June, 2017 — By The Xtra Diary

From left: Shirley Clark, Anne Yarham and Jan Gard at St Mary Le Bow church, after the hustings on Tuesday

CAMPAIGNERS urged Cities of London and Westminster election candidates to pledge their support for women born in the 1950s who have been “denied their pension rights”.

The state pension age was raised from 60 to 65 – a move that members of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) say has hit a particular group hard. They attended the hustings at St-Mary-Le-Bow church on Tuesday to speak up for women in Westminster.

WASPI member Jan Gard, 63, told Diary: “We are a group of women born in the 1950s. Some of us are waiting five or six years for our pensions. I’m not going to get my pension till November next year, I have been living off my savings and they’re gone. I don’t know what is going to happen in six months.”

As someone who has worked for the NHS on the mental health team for many years, she added: “It is a big issue as each woman has had £40,000 stolen from them. We are not talking about women who have never worked, we are talking about those who have worked all their lives and looked after children. Women have had to downsize, some are living in caravans, some are on foodbanks. It is an absolute disgrace how we are being treated, it is inequality, not equality, and that is what we are fighting.”

Ms Gard, who was born in November 1953, explained a woman born in January of the same year would get pension three-and-a-half years before her.

For many years, women received their pensions at 60 and men at 65, but it was decided that the age would be brought up for women. These changes were on the cards for many years but were brought in quicker than had originally been planned – coming as a shock to many who had expected to retire at 60 and had not had time to make alternate plans.

WASPI do not ask for the age to be returned to 60, but do want to compensation for those who have already reached pension age, and “fair transitional arrangements” for those affected.

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