WASPI women hit out as state pension age set to be hiked

WASPI women have been left ‘high and dry’ says David Linden

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The Treasury is said to want a rise to 68 to come in as early as 2035, according to The Sun, and such changes could even be announced as early as the March Budget. Reports of another change to the state pension age rise has been galling for WASPI women, who saw their state pension age rise from 60 to 65 in line with men, then 66, with many saying they didn’t have sufficient notice.

Angela Madden, chair of WASPI, told Express.co.uk: “It isn’t right to make people work until they drop.

“A healthy, retired population has so much to offer in voluntary and community work, and in caring responsibilities.”

Ms Madden shared the belief it is not right to raise the state pension age before other issues are addressed.

She continued: “Certainly, before making further rises to the state pension age, the Government needs to show it has learned the lessons of past bungles.

“As 1950s women approach retirement, they are still suffering the ill effects of proven maladministration at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“The Department failed to inform those affected by the last set of state pension age hikes in time.

“Many had already given up working, in anticipation of a pension at 60, and then found it difficult or impossible to get back into the workplace.

“One of us dies every 13 minutes waiting for the DWP to face the reality of their mistakes by offering compensation to those affected.”

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A review into whether the state pension age rise to 68 should be brought forward to 2037 to 2039 is currently taking place.

Further acceleration of the age could mean millions more are forced to work longer.

It means millions born in the 1970s and later are likely to be told they must work for longer – impacting those who are 54 and under today.

A Government spokesperson has told Express.co.uk “no changes” have yet been made when it comes to the state pension age, as the review is ongoing.

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The review is considering a “wide range of evidence” including the latest life expectancy data, as well as two independent reports.

However, with a general election looming, the Government will have to tread a fine line when it comes to the announcement it provides.

In this sense, Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, warned a state pension age hike would be a “bitter pill to swallow”.

He urged people to take their own action to secure a comfortable retirement.

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Mr Greer added: “Ultimately, people need to take responsibility for their own retirement and plan ahead, and taking professional advice or financial guidance earlier in life is a sensible step.

“A professional adviser can help project your income needs in retirement and explain how much you’d need to set aside now in order to be able to retire earlier than state pension age.”

State pension age changes have already impacted women born in the 1950s, as the age was increased from the traditional 60.

While the WASPI campaign group does not disagree with the rise, it disputes the way this was introduced – arguing women were not provided with ample notice about the changes.

As a result, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) states, some women have faced financial hardship and other challenges.

A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The Government decided over 25 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality.”

“Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.”

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