"Hands Off Our Pensions", Women Tell Clegg

Janet Hague petitionLocal campaigners have delivered a national petition to Sheffield Hallam MP and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, calling on him and his Party to take a stand over unfair Coalition pensions plans that are set to force 500,000 women born in 1953 and 1954 to wait over a year longer for their state pension when they come to retire in their 60s.

These plans backtrack on specific commitments given in the Coalition Agreement, and the worst hit will lose up to £15,000 of pension income.

Sheffield Hallam constituent Janet Hague will deliver the ‘hands off our pensions’ petition to Mr Clegg’s constituency office, along with a letter asking him to back down on the Government’s pensions plans.

Janet is one of the women affected. She gave up work as an accountant on the assumption she'd retire at 65, and can't afford the extra year to 66 that she's been lumbered with. She's worried she won't be able to get a job in her fifties.

She and a group of Sheffield Hallam constituents in a similar position delivered the petition on behalf of 500,000 women born in 1953 and 1954 who are set to lose up to £15,000 if the Pensions Bill becomes law.

The Pensions Bill will change the state pension age for almost 5 million people. 500,000 women will have to wait for more than a year, and 33,000 of those will have to wait for exactly two years before they can get their state pension.

No men will have to wait over a year.

This plan fails the ‘fairness test’, as women will be hit much harder than men, and those with the lowest incomes and no occupational pensions, who are most reliant on the state pension, will be hit hardest of all.

It also fails the ‘trust test’, as the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement made specific commitments not to speed up the increase in the state pension age for women, which have been clearly broken. It is unclear whether Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs will be expected to support policies which actively undermine the Coalition Agreement.

17 Lib Dem MPs have stated that they oppose these plans, and it remains to be seen whether they will stick with the Government when the clauses in the Bill are put to the vote in the Commons later this session. Local campaigners are calling on Nick Clegg


to think again before it is too late. They are also calling on him to commit now to vote against these clauses in the Pensions Bill when it comes to Parliament.

Labour Shadow Minister for Pensions, Rachel Reeves, said:

"The Government is unfairly targeting women with this sudden rise in the state pension age. In doing so, they are clearly breaching the Coalition Agreement.

"If these plans become law, they will leave women with little time to prepare for their retirement – and many of them are not in a position to rely on occupational pensions savings."

Janet Hague said: "I, like many other women, had planned to get my State Pension at the age of 60, which for me is in five years time.  Now, with little or no notice, I find that I will be 66 before I qualify for the pension even though I have contributed in full. 

"Older women have even less notice. The proposals do not give enough time for women to make alternative pension arrangements to cover this lack of State Pension and unfairly discriminate against us."


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