WASPI

Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow Constituency has continued to campaign on behalf of the thousands of local women who have been unfairly affected by the rise to state pension age.

In the UK, around 2.5 million women born in the 1950s are suffering from an injustice that has been disproportionately inflicted on them as a result of changes to the pension qualification age.

The 1995 Conservative Government’s State Pension Act included plans to increase women’s state pension age from 60 to 65, so that it was the same as men’s. The 2011 Pension Act accelerated this.

Those affected agree with equalisation, and are not asking for the pension age to be brought back to age 60, but they do not agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented.

Because of the way the increases were brought in, hundreds of thousands of North East women born in the 1950s, between 6th April 1951 and 5th April 1960, have been hit particularly hard.

Many were not properly notified of the changes and have had little time to re plan their retirement arrangements and are currently suffering financial hardship. Those worst affected were only notified upon turning 59 that their retirement age was changing from 60 to 66.

According to official estimates from the House of Commons Library, over 4,000 women in Jarrow constituency and around 8,000 in South Tyneside are affected by the changes.

Mr Hepburn asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will make an assessment of the effect of changes to the state pension age on women born in the 1950s in Jarrow constituency, South Tyneside and the North East.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Pensions, Conservative MP Guy Opperman, responded with: “Successive governments did not do a constituency or regional specific assessment of the effect of changes to the State Pension age for men or women born in any individual constituency. Therefore, this process is not proposed for the Jarrow constituency, South Tyneside or the North East.”

Last year, Labour pledged to commission a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a flexible retirement policy to reflect both the contributions made by people, the wide variations in life expectancy, and the arduous conditions of some work if the party wins the next General Election.


Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“The Ministers response is very disappointing.

“It is clear that they are trying brush this issue under the carpet and silence the 4,000 women in the Jarrow constituency who have been affected by this unfairness.

"Women have been robbed, stolen of the thoughts of a happy retirement by a Tory government who are more willing to give a £1 billion bung to the DUP in order to save their necks in government than to look after people who've worked a lifetime just to be happy in retirement.

“Those affected feel victimised due to the Government’s lack of action –some of those affected have had to turn to foodbanks and are facing real hardship.

“I will keep fighting to push the Government to ensure that they support local people who have been unfairly affected and press them to look again at introducing transitional arrangements. They aren’t asking for anything unreasonable.”

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Meet your MP

 Stephen-Hepburn-MP

Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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