WASPI woman says ‘I’ve paid in’ as she slams pension amount
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The state pension age was traditionally 60 for women, and 65 for men, but after a series of changes, age equalisation was enacted. Millions of women born in the 1950s were impacted, but some have asserted they were not provided with enough notice regarding the alteration.
These women have argued their retirements, financial stability and even emotional wellbeing have been impacted as a result.
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Kay Clarke, 67, from the Vale of Glenmorgan. She is a founding member of 1950s WoW (Women of Wales) and beyond.
Ms Clarke provided insight into her circumstances, and the struggles she has faced as a result of the state pension age changes.
She described feeling “shocked and angry” when she discovered her state pension age would no longer be 60, but 66.
The retiree said: “I thought ‘How dare you?!’ This Government took out a contract with me when I started work.
“If a private company had change their mind on something like that, they would’ve been taken to task.”
Ms Clarke first began her working life at aged 15, as a Saturday girl in Woolworths.
She then went on to work for a bank, and after that for British Airways, however, her circumstances changed when she decided, like many other women, to start a family.
She explained: “When I had my children, I gave up work to look after them.
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“I then worked around my husband’s working hours as a bar maid, then zero hours contracted jobs in the leisure centre, and once my children were of secondary school age I got work again, but was later made redundant.
“I never failed to pass an interview, but looking for a new job at 57 was hard. No one wanted to employ me, they wanted someone younger.”
The inability to find a new role, combined with the news her state pension age was no longer 60, Ms Clarke said, affected her “very badly”.
Her morale was low and she was devastated by the fact she would have to wait longer for her pension, with consequences for her financial stability.
Ms Clarke continued: “Financially, it was hard. I didn’t have a company pension because I was on a zero hours contract as a representative at the airport.
“We were allowed to have a company pension in 2012, but six months after that I was made redundant – so I have the sum total of £62.50!
“I had been putting money aside, but that went a long time ago because I couldn’t get any work.
“Between the ages of 60 to 66 that I thought I’d have payments for, it’s cost me somewhere in the region of £48,000 and £50,000.
“I had £15,000 saved but that’s all gone now. It’s a lot of money I could’ve had. People said I should’ve planned for my future, but I did – only it was the one I thought I was having.”
Ms Clarke addressed the challenging circumstances for women of the 1950s and of a similar age, compared to the advancements which have since been made.
Different attitudes meant in some cases women were only granted a mortgage if they had a male guarantor – usually a husband.
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Many needed to remain at home to look after their children, and so were unable to work full time.
Ms Clarke added: “We had such a lot to deal with, and to have this thrust upon us at our age just seems so unfair. Rishi Sunak took the triple lock, they’ve raised the state pension age once more, our pension lags behind those in Europe – it’s just getting worse by the day. It’s so cruel, it’s just all about money.”
Ms Clarke stated she has become frustrated by the time it has taken to address the issues raised by those impacted.
She expressed there “always seems to be something more important” which means the 1950s women have not had the progress they had hoped for.
Ms Clarke concluded: “We’ve just had to take a backseat and be quiet over so many years. We must get some form of compensation for what we’ve been put through – the delays are just rude. I appreciate there is no way we’ll get our pensions back, and that isn’t fair. But we need something to help us, especially in this economic climate.
“All I can say is, they need to listen to us – because we’re not going anywhere!”
The case with the Ombudsman regarding compensation is still ongoing, and it is yet to be decided whether compensation or other forms of official redress will be due.
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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