Council to help district’s 8,000 women affected by pension changes

Monday, 10 April, 2017

East Hampshire District Council has joined a campaign to help 8,000 women in the area who may now be unable to retire at 60 following changes to their state pensions.

The council will be urging the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Damian Green MP) to ensure that those affected are treated fairly and where necessary are given financial support in cases where the changes have been too rapid and taken place without sufficient notice for them to make alternative plans.

So far 118 councils, including East Hampshire, have agreed to tackle this issue as it affects 116,000 women in the county and 3.5million in the UK.

Other councils in the area have joined the campaign – including Havant Borough Council, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council and the Isle of Wight Council.

The council discussed the issue at its full council meeting on Thursday evening (6 April) and heard from Dr Carolyne Jacobs (who was representing Women Against State Pension Inequality – WASPI).

Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, said: “These changes by central government could have a big impact on a considerable number of our residents and that’s why we have stepped in and joined this campaign.”

The changes affect women who were born after April 1951. Councillors are concerned that the changes may have been brought in so quickly that those affected have left little time to make changes to retirement plans or make alternative financial provision.

The Pensions Act of 1995 brought in changes to the State Pension Age (SPA) for women born after April 1951. At that time, the changes were not to start until April 2010 and would take ten years to complete. By 6 April 2020 the women's state pension age would have been 65 and equal to that of men.

The Pensions Act of 2011 increased SPA for men and women to 66 by 2020; this had the effect of speeding up the changes for women and moving the date they can draw their pension to a later one.

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