Women from the Solent WASPI group (Women Against State pension Inequality) were among thousands expected to march upon the Houses of Parliament this afternoon in the fight to help women affected by changes to the state pension age.
Around 3,000 women and supporters of the group walked towards parliament - many supported by their MPs this International Women’s Day.
Around 128 people across the Solent area including Portsmouth, Fareham, Southampton, Winchester and the New Forest, have been campaigning to lobby the government since it brought in changes to when women born in the 1950s will receive their state pension.
The main aim of the group is to see the government set up transitional payments for women who have missed out on their pensions.
Carolyne Jacobs is the joint area co-ordinator for Solent Waspi. She previously told The News the protests and campaigning was not just about equality but also treating women fairly after around 2.5m women were given short notice about changes to their pension.
‘We are not fighting for the fact that state pension age has been made equal between men and women – we accept that,’ she said.
‘It is about women who are affected having very little notice. For some of the worst affected, they could lose up to £46,000.’
Around 10,000 of the women affected are in Portsmouth with 85,400 across the county.
Carolyne, from Horndean, said: ‘In 1995, the government made changes to the state pension ages for women born in the 1950s so a lot of them could no longer get a pension when they turned 60.
‘For women born between April 6, 1950 and April 5, 1955 the pension age would depend on when within that time period they were born. The age ranged from 60 years and one month, to 64 years and 11 months. ‘For women born after April 5, 1955 the pension age would be 65 – the same as men’s. ‘They said it would phase in between 2010 and 2020 but they did not contact people directly and tell them how it would affect them. ‘The government did write to benefit officers and put it in the media but did not send letters to women. Not everyone saw this so were not aware of changes.’
Carolyne added the big problems started in 2011 when the government increased the state pension again, by one year to 66-years-old for women born after October 5, 1954 but before April 6, 1968.
In 2015, women decided it was time to make a stand and created the national WASPI group. Since then, the movement has grown and there are now 140 other branches across England.
For more information or to contact Solent WASPI email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.