The Pembrokeshire Branch of ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ (WASPI) have held a demonstration outside Haverfordwest Leisure Centre this afternoon (Friday), campaigning against state pension age changes.
In 1995, the decision was taken to slowly raise the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 by 2020, making it the same as for men, and giving those affected plenty of time to prepare.
In 2011, the coalition government accelerated the changes.
WASPI have since stated that the women who were born in the 1950s and are affected, were either not appropriately informed about the acceleration, or were informed late. They say this has given these women little or no time to prepare for this large adjustment.
The group aims to bring about a ‘bridging’ pension to cover the gap from age 60 until State Pension Age, along with compensation for losses.
Following the protest, 12 members of the campaign group met at the leisure centre with Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, who briefly served as Work & Pensions Secretary earlier this year, to discuss their grievances around the pension legislation.
WASPI Pembrokeshire Co-ordinator, Margaret Crane, told Radio Pembrokeshire that the meeting had left the group remaining ‘in the dark’, however Mr Crabb had told members that he would speak with Tim Loughton, who sits on the All-Party Group concerned with the issue, about what proposals could be put forward.
Following the meeting Stephen Crabb MP said that he understood that many people may not have been aware of these changes going on during their working life. He told us that this was a ‘difficult issue’ but that these changes have had to be made in order to make the pension system ‘sustainable in the long term’.