The groups campaigning against the rises in state pension age have been active over the last few months. What’s the latest? I was on BBC Rip Off Britain which featured an interview with former Pensions Minister Ros Altmann. In it she said that successive governments had failed to inform 1950s women of the changes to their state pension.
BBC Rip Off Britain
You can see the interview with Ros Altmann (and a short interview with me!) on the BBC iPlayer Rip Off Britain Episode 2 page.
WASPI, or Women Against State Pension Inequality is the original campaign group that formed to campaign against the way the state pension age for women was increased from 60 to 65.
They also started a petition in October 2015 for transitional arrangements for women, which received over 190,000 signatures. The issue was debated in February in Parliament.
What WASPI wants: WASPI does not want the state pension age to go back to 60. What it wants is for women born in the 1950s (on or after 6th April 1951) affected by the rise in state pension age to 65 to be given transitional payments. This would be a ‘bridging’ pension to cover the gap from when the women reach 60 until they reach state pension age. This payment wouldn’t be means tested. Women who’ve already reached state pension age would receive compensation for the money they’d missed out on.
What’s the latest WASPI has been up to? On Tuesday 11th October, over 100 paper WASPI petitions were presented by MPs in parliament. An amazing achievement! You can watch the MPs presenting the petitions on the Parliament.tv website (it starts at around 18.35, which is almost at the end of the programme).
Earlier this summer, relations between the five founders of WASPI broke down and two of the original founders decided to run WASPI without the other three. They, in turn, set up WASPI Voice.
The founders of WASPI Voice describe it as a place where you can discuss suggested solutions for ‘fair transitional state pension arrangements’. Its Facebook page is asking for feedback on ten different options:
- Placing a cap on the maximum increase in the state pension age to 66 by the 2011 Pensions Act to 12 months (currently the cap is 18 months).
- The chance for women to take their state pension early, but at a lower rate for life (this wouldn’t cost any extra).
- Letting women take their full state pension at 60.
- Letting women take their state pension at the age set out by the decision to equalise the state pension age at 65. This was the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – designed to raise the state pension age to 65 by 2020.
- Extend the timetable for increasing the state pension age to 66. One suggestion would mean that instead of the state pension age for women (and men) rising to 66 by October 2020, it would be 66 by April 2022.
- Maintain the qualifying age for Pension Credit. This would mean that women could qualify for Pension Credit earlier than their new state pension age (after the 1995 and 2011 Act increases).
- Pay women a ‘bridge pension’ until they reach state pension age. This money would be means tested.
- Give access to other pensioner benefits at an earlier age, such as concessional transport passes and winter fuel payment.
- Set the state pension age for all women born between April 1953 and April 1960 at 63. Currently the state pension age for women born between these dates is between 63 and 66.
- Pay women a transitional payment to make up the difference between the date they receive their state pension and the original state pension age of 60 (WASPI’s ‘ask’).
Where can you get more information? You can find WASPI Voice’s page on Facebook.
63 is the new 60
One group is campaigning for a state pension age of 63 (point 9 in WASPI Voice’s list, above). The idea is that instead of the state pension age being 60, it’s raised to 63. Campaigners for the group are active on Twitter.
What’s happened recently?
Campaigners were very active in the party conference season and have done some fantastic work in getting the message across. However, the new Pensions Minister, Richard Harrington, has said in an interview that there is ‘no money’ to help women born in the 1950s whose state pension age has risen. So there’s still more work to do…
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