One year on, nothing has changed for the women who were shortchanged in their pensions

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Saturday 02 November 2019 15:08
Women's pensions £100,000 less than men's

Last September, I wrote a letter detailing the negative effects of increasing the state pension age for 3.8 million women born in the 1950s, myself included. One year on and the impact of the change has significantly escalated.

Many have been left in real poverty; relying on food banks, claiming benefits, and downsizing or losing homes. All of this severely affects the mental health of a generation of hardworking women – whose crime, if you recall, was to be born a few years too late!

In November 2018, the #BackTo60 campaign won the right to a judicial review after all arguments were accepted by Justice Lang. But we were left devastated by the High Court’s decision last month, which brutally dismissed all claims. Such is the anger over the gross injustice to Fifties-born women, that £80,000 to appeal the ruling has been crowdfunded in just 16 days.

Despite the pleas of many MPs, 225 of whom supported an Early Day Motion tabled by Labour MP Anna McMorrin to provide financial restitution to 1950s-born women, plus the letters sent to Theresa May and Boris Johnson, and the countless questions raised in PMQs; the government still refuses to admit mistakes were made, instead choosing to ignore the devastation that has been created.

Prior to being selected as the leader of the Conservatives, Johnson made a promise to look again at the “issue”, thereby raising hope, but has let everyone down by failing to do anything. Brexit has given him the excuse to hide, while kicking the can further down the road for a generation of women.

Maybe Jeremy Corbyn will commit to helping us? Just this week, the Labour Party created a list called “10 of the scariest things the Tories have done while in government”, in which “making unfair changes to the state pension age” is at number two.

Now would have been the time for me to claim my state pension, had the 2011 Act not added a further 14 months. In reality, I am facing another year of using hard-earned and rapidly diminishing savings to supplement my husband’s pension. I only hope that this will see us both through to when I will at last be able to claim, at 66. Even then, to add insult to injury, I will be paid a month in arrears.

Maybe then I will regain my dignity and independence, but I fear for our future financial security and the effects of losing more than £45,000 on our remaining life together.

Rosina Pain Tolin​

A right of reply

In reply to Jonathan Longstaff’s letter, I very doubt much that Richard Dawkins has concluded that atheism is “totally bankrupt morally”, even if he does admit that God can have His uses.

I, along with my fellow corrupt atheists, am happy with my own personal moral code, and have no need of one ascribed to an imaginary supernatural being.

Martin Heaton

Sorry Jonathan Longstaff, but you miss the point entirely. Dawkins is saying that, much to his dismay, humans really do behave better when they believe someone is watching. Someone? A pair of eyes drawn on a piece of paper seems to offer the same moral compulsion as an unbreakable edict from an omniscient omnipotent superbeing who created the entire universe out of nothing.

I just wish I had that much artistic talent!

Steve Rencontre
Address supplied

Fracking success

The government’s decision to ban fracking is most welcome. It could also be an indication that – after years of “green” campaigning – the authorities are beginning to take note. Next step: Heathrow’s third runway?

Andrew McLuskey​

What’s the deal with Farage?

Having laid down an ultimatum to Boris to either ditch his proposed Brexit deal or risk the Brexiteer vote being split, you have to ask: does Farage really want Brexit to succeed?

If Labour wins the upcoming election then Farage will have at least another six months in the limelight while Corbyn attempts to cobble together a new deal, which would then be put to the country in another referendum – during which Farage will again be able to push himself to the front.

It seems the worst thing that could happen to the Brexit Party leader would be a Leave vote, which would render him irrelevant. A vote to Remain, however, would keep him front and centre for years to come. He could continue on as leader of his own party, with the future possibility of a seat in parliament, while a lucrative MEP position keeps the money coming in. I should think the last thing he wants is a Conservative Brexit that will consign him to the margins.

S Lawrence

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No better informed

On hearing the recent announcement of a general election I have to admit to feeling quite concerned. This was not for the reasons you may expect, but the worry that the general public will be putting our names to something without full clarity on what it is that we are choosing.

The government has not, to my knowledge, given a clear list of what is and isn’t included within the current Brexit deal, or the consequences of a no-deal situation, or what would happen if we were to stay in Europe. This is not to mention the question of how many of our laws, trade deals etc are directly tied to our position, and could fail, be repealed or need altering after any of the Brexit eventualities.

Adding to my concern is the knowledge that, contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t just a vote on Brexit or on how we feel about Boris Johnson; it is a true election – a vote on policy for the whole country for several years.

We must be aware of this, and the government must be more open about what it is that we, the voters, will wind up taking responsibility for.

D West

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