A campaign group battling controversial changes to the women's state pension age is staging a demonstration outside Parliament tomorrow in a bid to influence MPs attending the Budget.
Changes to the pension age mean many women born in the 1950s will have to wait longer than expected to receive their state pensions, and some say they weren't given enough notice to prepare, or weren't notified at all.
The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign group was formed to demand transitional arrangements including a 'bridging pension' for those caught out by the changes.
It's planning a demonstration in Old Palace Yard, opposite the Houses of Parliament, from 1pm tomorrow (Wednesday 8 March) - which is both Budget Day and International Women's Day.
Speakers at the event will include the Scottish National Party's Mhairi Black, Britain's youngest MP and a well-known advocate for WASPI's cause, as well as Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs and trade union Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis.
Hundreds of WASPI supporters from across the country are expected to attend, with groups known to be travelling from Yorkshire, Hampshire, Devon and Dorset. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis and former pensions minister Ros Altmann have said they hope to attend.
Late last year the WASPI group raised £100,000 through crowdfunding to pay for a legal challenge to the pension age changes, after new Pensions Minister Richard Harrington vowed not to make any concessions on the issue.
'Dorset ladies will be there'
Supporters of the WASPI campaign have been tweeting to pledge their support for the protest.
@WASPI_Campaign Dorset ladies will be there - 8th March demo, London. Richard Drax - we said we would be back, again and again see you there— Andrea Edmonds (@retiredbrain) March 6, 2017
Why will some women lose out under the state pension changes?
There are two separate increases of the state pension age currently underway...
- Under the 1995 Pensions Act, the Government decided the pension ages of men and women would be made the same by 2020. Previously, women retired at 60 and men at 65.
- In 2011 the state pension age for men and women was raised to 66.
These changes mean women born after 5 April 1950 will receive their state pensions later than expected – in some cases six years later.
Many women who had been expecting to start drawing their state pensions between 2016 and 2020 only found out in 2011 – with the additional change in state pension ages – that they would face a delay.
WASPI organised a petition calling for the Government to compromise on the issue, which was backed by MoneySavingExpert and attracted almost 200,000 signatories. The group maintains that women affected by the changes haven't been left with much time to make alternative plans and that existing retirement plans have been "shattered with devastating consequences".
However, the DWP says it did take appropriate steps to notify women of the changes and insists "all women affected have been directly contacted".
Which age brackets are most affected?
The date on which you'll receive your state pension depends on exactly when you were born – the Government has published full state pension age timetables, but in brief:
- Women born after 5 April 1950 are affected by the equalisation of the state pension age to 65 (following the changes in the 1995 Pensions Act).
- Women born between 6 April 1953 and 5 October 1954 are affected by both the equalisation of the state pension age to 65 and the rise of the state pension age to 66.
- Women born between 6 October 1954 and 5 April 1960 will see their state pension age rise to 66.
- The next rise in the state pension age, to 67, will apply to men and women born after 6 March 1961 (and be phased in for those born between 6 April 1960 and 5 March 1961).