Council backs pensions campaigners in row with Government

Members of the Berwick WASPI group campaigning in Amble.
Members of the Berwick WASPI group campaigning in Amble.

Northumberland County Council is to press the Government over its ‘failure’ to give adequate notice on changes to retirement dates for women.

There was unanimous agreement across the political parties at yesterday’s full council to call on the Government to make transitional arrangements for women born on or after April 6, 1951, ‘who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the state pension age (SPA) with a lack of appropriate notification’.

WASPI supporters posting their letters to the DWP at Cornhill. From left, Jan Hunter, Sue Hewitt, Susan Beevers and Sue McCall.

WASPI supporters posting their letters to the DWP at Cornhill. From left, Jan Hunter, Sue Hewitt, Susan Beevers and Sue McCall.

Deputy business chairman, Coun Liz Simpson, who proposed the motion, said: “More than one-and-a-half million women had significant pension changes imposed on them by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011 with little or no personal notification of the changes.

“Some women had only two years notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age. As a result, many women, including those in our county, live in hardship, on reduced incomes, with little or no opportunity to make alternative financial provision.

“This council believes in equality, and believes the failure of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to give adequate notice of changes in retirement dates is discriminatory and unfair.”

In supporting the motion, the council agreed to: Call upon the Government to make transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6 April 1951; demand that DWP gives adequate notice to all people when their revised pension age will apply, so that those who need to can make alternative arrangements; support the national WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequalities) campaign to get fair treatment, and the work of local Northumberland campaign groups.

Jane Cowley, from the Berwick constituency WASPI group, said: “We are thrilled with the unanimous support from the council and applaud them for bringing forward this motion. We will continue to press the Government for change and are also considering legal action against them.”