Pension grab fury as thousands of Hartlepool women risk losing £45,000 under changes

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Council chiefs are demanding Government intervention to help more than 5,500 Hartlepool women have been left worse off changes to state pensions.

That is acdcording to Councillor Brenda Harrison who put forward a motion in support of the national campaign Women Agianst State Pension Inequality (WASPI).

Councillor Brenda Harrison.

Councillor Brenda Harrison.

The campaign group says the retierement plans of women born in the 1950s have been shattered by the way changes to raise the state pension for women from 60 to 66 in line with men’s were brought in.

After receiving unanious support of councillors, Hartlepool Borough Council is calling on the Government to recognise the need for a bridging pension to provide women affected with an income until they reach 66, and compensation for those at risk of losing out by £45,000.

In presenting the motion, Coun Harrison said: “It is a big dip and it’s absolutely disgraceful.

“This motion is to do with the fact that those women when they entered the workforce were told they were going to get a state pension at the age of 60 and planned accordingly.”

WASPI campaigners outside Westminster

WASPI campaigners outside Westminster

The council previously wrote to the Government in support of the WASPI campaign last year, but Coun Harrison said the issue needed to be reinforced.

This summer, pensions minister Guy Opperman caused outrage from WASPI when he suggested women affected by the pension changes could take up an apprenticeship.

Coun Harrison said: “That’s a great answer to people who have worked all their lives, who have put into our economy and at the ages of getting on for 60 and in their 60s their told to go and find an apprenticeship.

“That is appalling and arrogant. This affects over five and a half thousand women in Hartlepool alone.”

It also says women affected were not properly informed and did not give them enough time to make other plans for their finances.

Coun Stephen Thomas said: “The WASPI campaign recognises that the equalisation of state pension age was necessary but the manner in which it has been introduced has been unfair, unjust and has had a devastating consequences for the retirement plans of millions of women born in the 1950s.”

The motion was also supported by the Conservative group.

Group leader Coun Ray Martin-Wells said: “Whilst the Conservative Group fundamentally agree that the pension age should be the same for both men and women, we certainly recognise the impact of introducing such a change without notice can have on individuals who are unfortunate enough to be born later.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “The decision to equalise the State Pension age between men and women was made over 20 years ago and achieves a long-overdue move towards gender equality. There are no plans to change the transitional arrangements already in place.

“Women retiring today can still expect to receive the State Pension for 26 years on average – several years longer than men.”