At the last count, just over half of my Blyth Valley constituents are female.
A large number of them are facing another Tory trick and will have to work until they are 68 before getting the state pension they have contributed to all their working lives.
Increases in the women’s state pension age have already boosted the Treasury’s coffers by £5.1bn a year, while 1.1m women are, on average, £32 a week worse off. That’s not just me talking – the figures are from the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank.
Between 2010 and 2016, the state pension age for women rose from age 60 to 63. The result is that 1.1m fewer women are receiving a state pension and the government is providing £4.2bn less through state pensions and other benefits.
Affected households are receiving about £74 a week less in state pensions and other state benefits.
And – surprise, surprise – the impact is higher on low income households than on the ‘fat cat’ families.
Naturally, this will increase as the state pension age rises further.
The latest figures show that poverty among 57 to 59 year-old-women was 17.5 per cent a few years ago, and that can only grow as women work longer for less.
This so-called “reform” can only increase income poverty rates among households containing a woman who has reached 60, but not yet reached her state pension age.
The government claims the move is “fair and sustainable”, given rises in life expectancy. That’s just laughable – except few of my constituents are laughing.
Critics say many women born in the 1950s were not made aware of the changes in time to plan ahead and now face years of retirement without their pension.
These are the young wives, mothers, daughters, and in many cases their daughters, who gave their all during the Great Miners’ Strike of the mid-1980s.
They deserve better. But under the Tories, they won’t get it.