A version of this article appeared in the South Wales Evening Post on Thursday 6 June 2019.
Geraint Davies MP today joined protesters from Swansea who marched outside Parliament in opposition to the government’s handling of changes to the State Pension Age for women born in the 1950s.
Nearly 4 million women in the UK and over 10,000 women in Swansea have been forced to wait up to six extra years before they can claim their pensions after changes that raised the age for women’s retirement to 65 to bring it in line with men’s.
On the same day that two women took the Department for Work and Pensions to court seeking a judicial review of the way that the government increased the retirement age, Mr Davies joined members from Swansea’s branch of the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) outside Parliament to protest against the changes.
Mr Davies said: “Women born in the 1950s who had planned to retire at a certain age are now being unfairly penalised. Thousands of women in Swansea, many of whom spent their working lives caring for their children and working for lower wages than men, have been pushed into financial trouble and are now struggling to fill the gap left in their finances by the changes to the retirement age.
“Many of these women are being forced to work on zero hours contracts and many more have lost their independence, relying on support from their partners and families to get by. That’s why I’m here today, standing in solidarity with Swansea’s women, calling on the government to listen and deliver a pensions system that is fair for everyone.”
Both WASPI and another campaign group, BackTo60, have argued that many of the women affected by the age change were not properly informed and were not given time to adapt to the new circumstances. In many cases, women were not told about the changes until a few months before they were due to retire, leaving them with no time to make alternative financial arrangements.
The changes were first introduced in the 1995 Pensions Act, which introduced a phased increase to the women’s state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. This timetable was then accelerated by the Coalition government in the 2011 Pension Act, which brought forward the deadline for increasing women’s retirement age to 65 to 2018.