The 3.3 million women “pensioners” who can’t get a penny from Theresa May

Today I am putting up on my website a  documentary film  released today made by the Backto60 campaign who have interviewed women now in their early 60s who suddenly found that they weren’t going to get their pension when they retired at 60. Some of them sadly have committed suicide, some have thought of committing suicide.

They are angry at both the coalition and present Tory government decided to change the pension age without any notice so they can plan. They are the people who have worked all their loves and brought up families, often sacrificing their opportunity to work. Some have even put extra money into their pension, only to find they won’t get it until they are 66.

The government shows no sign of giving in to them – in fact ministers like David Gauke, the  works and pensions secretary, have frozen other benefits instead- and if the Tories had a majority now would be pressing to end winter fuel allowances, free bus passes and the triple lock that guarantees pensions will  rise by 2.5 per cent a year.

There is a  contribution from Ken Loach, the radical film maker and pensioner himself, who made the searing film, I, Daniel Blake, about the trials and tribulations of being on social security after you have lost your job.

9 thoughts on “The 3.3 million women “pensioners” who can’t get a penny from Theresa May

  1. Pingback: The 3.3 million women “pensioners” who can’t get a penny from Theresa May – David Hencke – leftwingnobody

  2. It is shameful how women have borne the brunt of cuts in our society. Good luck with the campaign to restore women’s pension rights.

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  3. Thank you. Very well expressed. So many women are suffering. Unbelievably so many still think their pension will be paid at 60. Not any of them remember receiving notification. They cant all be wrong. Terrible treatment of women by successive governments.

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  4. This has affected my life deeply – I’m one of the ladies who was not told about the pension age being increased by SIX YEARS! ! I can truly say every day is a struggle – I never envisaged being so poor in my sixties! Never claimed a benefit in my life! Pension is our right – not a benefit. Thankyou for your kind support.

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  5. You have bought into the sob stories of a small minority of women without bothering to check the facts. I would have expected better from an award-winning journalist. Here are the facts:

    1. Legislation to raise the state pension age for women to 65 was announced in the November Budget of 1993 and passed by both Houses in 1995. It was reported on prime time TV and radio, and on the front pages of newspapers, in both years. You can find the announcement in the Budget speech here: http://www.johnmajor.co.uk/page4283.html

    2. The legislation provided for a gradual rise of the state pension age to 65 over ten calendar years 2010-2020, and five birth years April 1950 to April 1955. You can find the original timetable here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/26/schedule/4/enacted

    3. Both the Conservative Government in power in 1995, and the subsequent Labour government, produced copious leaflets and conducted public awareness campaigns. However, neither wrote to women individually. The WASPI campaign criticises the government for this and is encouraging women to pursue compensation claims for maladministration because they did not receive personal notificaition. However, the Government has no legal duty to inform personally and does not do so for other legislation. It has admitted that communication of the change could have been better. You can download a comprehensive Commons briefing paper which covers this here: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7405#fullreport

    4. In 2007, the Labour government enacted legislation to raise the state pension age for both men and women to 68 by 2046, with a long transition starting in 2024. The youngest women born in the 1950s would have been affected by this even without the subsequent acceleration by the Coalition government. This legislation also reduced the qualifying years for full state pension to 30 for both men and women, to take effect in 2010. Before that, the qualifying years for full SP were 39 for women and 44 for men. You can find the original version of the 2007 Pensions Act here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/22/contents/enacted

    5. In 2011, the Coalition government enacted legislation to accelerate both the equalisation of state pension ages and the start of the transition to higher pension ages. The equalisation of pension ages transition had already started, so the acceleration disproportionately affected women born in 1953-4, who had rises of up to 2 years in their state pension age at very short notice. Following a campaign by the Protest against the 2011 State Pension Age Increase group (which still exists, you can find their FB page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/protestagainstraisedpensionage/?ref=bookmarks), the timetable for the acceleration was relaxed so that no woman had a rise of more than 18 months. However, many people still regard the extra rise and the short notice as unfair. You can find the timetable for the 2011 Act here: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20111115161737/http:/www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/spa-timetable.pdf
    If you scroll down to the final page, you will see that state pension age rises for women born in the 1960s and 70s are now larger than for those born in the 1950s, because the 2011 and 2014 Acts have accelerated the whole 2007 Act, not just the women’s state pension age increase.

    6. The WASPI campaign deliberately conflated the 2011 acceleration with the 1995 state pension age rise in order to whip up demand for pensions at 60. When challenged about this, they changed the demand to “fair transitional arrangements”, but subsequent communications have made it clear that they still really want pensions at 60. http://www.coppolacomment.com/2016/07/the-waspi-campaigns-unreasonable-demand.html

    It is to their credit that the Back to 60 Campaign doesn’t resort to such underhand tactics. However, it is simply not true that the Coalition government ended the right of women born in the 1950s (after 5/4/50) to state pension on their 60th birthday. That was ended in 1995.

    7. The 2014 Pensions Act further accelerated the 2007 Pensions Act timetable. However, this does not affect women born in the 1950s. The principal objection that 1950s women have to the 2014 Act appears to be the fact that if they were contracted-out of SERPS/S2P, they could get less than the new State Pension. This has nothing to do with the state pension age rises. Indeed, if women who were 60 before 6/4/16 had received SP at 60, they would now be receiving the old state pension not the new one. The 2014 Act also raised the qualifying years for full SP to 35 for both men and women, and introduced a lower qualifying limit of 10 years below which no SP would be payable at all. A small minority of older women will be affected by this. The 2014 Pensions Act can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/19/contents

    8. The State Pension does not work like a funded pension scheme. It is legally a contributory benefit like JSA and ESA, and is paid from the same NI contributions – see section 20(i) here, Definition of Contributory Benefits http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/4/contents/enacted.

    Parliament sets the eligibility of all these benefits, and is not obliged to give notice of changes. The claim in the video that these women have “earned dues” that the Government is wilfully withholding is simply wrong, I’m afraid.

    9. Realistically, no-one is going to restore the state pension to 60 for these women, not least because to do so would immediately attract legal challenges from men and younger women. It’s worth noting that a claim that raising the state pension age was sex discrimination and deprived women of their property rights was thrown out by the ECHR in 2012. You can find the judgment here: https://lovdata.no/static/EMDN/emd-2008-026252.pdf

    10. I have written extensively about this issue over the last few years. My considered view is that it would be far better to upgrade working-age benefits to make them more suitable for older people than to give 1950s women early pensions. Many of these women are far from poor – the 1950s cohort as a group is the richest in history. http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/app/uploads/2017/06/Wealth.pdf

    It would be a gross misuse of public money to pay early state pensions to well-off ladies with large houses, defined-benefit pensions and second homes in Crete, while the poor, the sick, the disabled and low-income families are facing deep cuts to benefits, stagnating wages and growing poverty. Frankly, there are far more deserving causes to which you could turn your considerable journalistic talents.

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    • For the record while not replying to all your points.
      1. I cover a wide range of topics on my blog – child sex abuse, domestic violence, bad treatment of the disabled, the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, dodgy privatisations, institutional racism etc.
      2. Given the government has to write to everyone telling them when their pension is due, it is not beyond the wit of man or woman to tell everyone personally when the change came into effect.
      3 your main point seems to be that pensions are not a right but a benefit that presumably could be means tested. I am afraid they are not marketed like that – with all the qualifying rules for NI to get one for a start. they are still a universal benefit and therefore I am drawing one at the moment and long may it continue.
      4. You seem to fall into the trap that many other well off people do ( I am not saying you are well off yourself) that a whole lot of benefits like free prescriptions, fuel and tv allowances, bus passes, should be withdrawn from those better off. But where is the line – for any policy to be effective to redistribute money it has to be the higher rate of tax.
      But because we have individual taxation – even something simple like the iuel allowances – would not work. I looked into this thoroughly when eE Balls wanted to do it – the problem is the wife of a wealthy banker would still get it – as she probably pays standard rate of tax – while two people with incomes just in the higher rate wouldn’t.

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  6. Pingback: Never mind WASPI, just look at Back to 60 | Me Stock Broker

  7. Pingback: Never mind WASPI, just look at Back to 60 – Courtier en Bourse

  8. Pingback: Never mind WASPI, just look at Back to 60 - Deflation Market

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