Ipswich WASPI campaigner ‘feels let down by this country’

Ipswich WASPI campaigners gather at Endeavour House on International Women's Day 2018. Picture: GEMM

Ipswich WASPI campaigners gather at Endeavour House on International Women's Day 2018. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: GEMMA MITCHELL

An Ipswich woman who was left shortchanged by pension reforms has said she feels “let down by this country”.

Jenny Rivett had her state pension age upped from 60 to 64 with just 18 months’ notice due to controversial changes in legislation.

As a result, she and her husband had to abandon plans to retire in France because of financial constraints.

Mrs Rivett, who finally received her state pension in November last year, is part of the Ipswich branch of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI).

The nationwide movement is fighting for fair transitional arrangements for the 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age increased twice, from 60 to 66 by 2020, with little to no warning.

Mrs Rivett said: “I have worked hard all my life and I feel like this country has let me down.”

Ipswich WASPI members gathered at Endeavour House on International Women’s Day where Suffolk County Council had displayed a banner in support of their plight.

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Eddie Naylor, 69, explained how he and his wife Audrey were set to retire around the same time, but the reforms scuppered their plans.

While Mr Naylor is already retired and receiving his pension, Mrs Naylor, 63, has had to continue working at Ipswich Hospital.

“The thing is there was no formal notice about it,” Mr Naylor said. “You just heard that was what would happen.

“I’m angry for her that’s why I’m here. I have been up to the London meetings and a couple of times outside Parliament.”

John Hagley, 66, whose wife Sue leads Ipswich WASPI, said the couple were around £8,000 worse off a year due to the pension changes.

“It’s only the fact we own our own house, I don’t know how we would live if we were paying rent,” he said.

Mr Hagley said he had wanted to help their sons buy houses, but could no longer afford to.

Sarah Sanford, 61, was aware of the changes early on through her previous work at a trade union, but she said she was given no formal notification.

She said: “That’s my advantage over pretty much all the women here, that was part of my plan anyway so I had to save all the harder and now I’m really eking out my savings because I was really angry and I thought ‘no you are not going to throw my life off course’, but there have been times when I thought ‘I wish I could put the heating on’.”

Liz Felgate had a nasty surprise in February 2013 when she requested a pension forecast and discovered she would not be able to claim her allowance until at least March 2018 – not that October as expected.

She said: “I had committed to childminding for my grandchildren, so that caused chaos really.”

At 64, Mrs Felgate is still having to maintain her job as a support worker before she starts receiving her state pension next week.

Ipswich WASPI can be contacted via email.