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WASPI banner to go on display outside Suffolk County Council to mark International Women’s Day

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 March 2018

Members of WASPI outside Endeavour House in Ipswich last year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Members of WASPI outside Endeavour House in Ipswich last year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Suffolk campaigners affected by “unjust” pension reforms are taking action on International Women’s Day to keep their plight on the agenda.

Members of Ipswich’s Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group will have a banner on display outside Suffolk County Council’s headquarters today.

The council has unanimously passed a motion to back more than 34,000 women in the county who were born in the 1950s and have had their state pension age increased twice, from 60 to 66 by 2020.

WASPI campaigners claim women were not given sufficient notice by the Government about these changes and have therefore been left in financial hardship as they were unable to make contingency plans.

They are calling for an offer of fair transitional arrangements for the women impacted.

Julia, who did not want to give her last name, is part of Ipswich WASPI.

The 63-year-old was expecting to retire at 60 but was informed in 2011 that she would have to wait another five years to get her state pension. She only recently found out the bar had been raised again to 66.

Julia worked for the majority of her life apart from raising her children, and made 44 years’ of national contributions.

She is now unable to work due to health problems, so has to rely on Employment Support Allowance and a small non-state pension to get by.

Julia said the way the process had been handled was “unfair” and “unjust”.

“I feel personally things are moving too slow and there are always excuses by the Government,” she added. “I don’t know if anything will happen before I reach 66.

“WASPI are not expecting the pension age to go back to 60, they are saying it should have been phased in better and want compensation for these women.”

Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult care, said the authority fully supported International Women’s Day and the WASPI campaign.

She added: “We’ve recently unanimously passed a motion giving our backing to the tens of thousands of women in Suffolk suffering pensions injustice.

“The women affected by these changes should be able to look forward to their retirements, not have to battle to get the pension they’re rightfully owed.”

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