Hampshire Waspi women campaigning for fairer pension deal get boost from council's backing

Part of the Solent Waspi group campaigning in London last year
Part of the Solent Waspi group campaigning in London last year

CAMPAIGNING women in the Solent area have praised Hampshire councillors for rallying behind their cause to end pension inequality.

This month Hampshire County Council became one of 160 local authorities nationally to vow to lobby the government for compensation payments for women affected by the increase in state pension age.

Councillor Malcolm Wade proposed a notice of motion to push for the payments, for which his peers voted unanimously in favour.

Speaking at full council he said: 'Many women born in the 1950s
are living in hardship.

'Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating
consequences. Many of these women are already out of the labour market, caring for elderly relatives, and/or providing childcare for grandchildren, or suffer discrimination in the workplace and struggle to find employment.

'The issue is that the rise in the women's state pension age has been too
rapid and has happened without sufficient notice being given to the women affected, leaving them with no time to make alternative arrangements.

'The council calls upon the government to provide fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women affected by the changes. This translates into a "bridging" pension to provide an income from age 60 until state pension age.'

Members of the Solent branch of Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) also attended the meeting.

They thanked the council for its decision. Group co-ordinator Shelagh Simmons said: 'We very much appreciate the support for our county's Waspi women that Hampshire councillors have shown by approving this motion.  It adds great weight to the growing pressure on the government to right this clear wrong.

'Although pensions are an issue for national government, local authorities are impacted by the extra pressure put by these changes on demand for their services.

'Councils also have an important role to play standing up for local women and helping to make their case to the government.'

It is thought that more than 116,000 women in Hampshire have been hit by the changes to pension age.

Portsmouth City Council approved a similar motion in 2017.