Dudley MP Ian Austin has demanded extra support from the Government for Black Country women hit by pension changes.
Austin was speaking in Parliamentary debate on changes to the state pension age for women born in the 1950s. Government plans will accelerate rises to the State Pension Age for women so that it will reach 66 by 2020, instead of 2026 as originally planned. Campaigners say that the changes have shattered their retirement plans as they have not had time to make new arrangements.
Official House of Commons Library figures show that 68,660 Black Country women born in the 1950s will be affected along with hundreds of thousands more across the country. Ian has been working alongside the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) to reach out to local women and get their voices heard.
Austin has joined the All-Party Parliamentary Group for WASPI, organised for a petition of over 600 local people to be presented to Parliament and raised the issue with Government Ministers on behalf of local women on a number of occasions.
Speaking in the debate, Ian Austin said:
“I have lost count of the number of women in Dudley who have told me that they have not had time to make plans for the new arrangements. They have had to take time off to bring up their children, or reduce their hours or retire early to care for ageing parents or grandchildren. Other women have told me that they have lost their husbands and have not just had to come to terms with the bereavement, but have been thrown into financial turmoil as a result.
“There is an additional unfairness in former industrial areas such as the Black Country, where women typically left school at 15 or 16, started work and did hard work all their lives. That is very different from someone graduating in their early twenties and doing an office job. Women in the Black Country have done their bit, and that is why the Government should be coming up with proper transitional arrangements so that they can plan properly for their retirement now.”