It was an honour for members of Harrogate and Knaresborough WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) to be part of the Harrogate Pride in Diversity March last Saturday.
We too are often discriminated against. In fact, we are invisible.
We are women born in the 1950s who are fighting for a fair deal regarding our pensions. Many women of our age have worked since age 15, brought up families without childcare support, been subject to low pay and were not eligible to join company pensions schemes. We did not receive notification that our pension age had changed from 60 to 63 and, even worse, that in 2013 the State Pension Age was again raised.
Many women who planned to retire at 60, some who took early retirement in anticipation of this, now find themselves having to work another five, six or seven years and have been robbed of up to £45,000 of pension contributions.
Ill-health can make working longer difficult and finding a job for the over 60s is not easy. The recommendation by one MP that these women should apply for modern apprenticeships showed a complete lack of respect for WASPI women. We are not entitled to a bus pass or winter fuel allowance until retirement. Many women have lost their homes and are reliant on their families for financial support.
We hope our Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, will be true to the words of his speech at the Diversity Parade about “fighting against discrimination of all kinds” and support the WASPI women in his constituency.
Harrogate and Knaresborough WASPI