Broch ladies’ pension demo in London

editorial image

North East women affected by the rise in pension age have visited Westminster to put pressure on the government to look again at the changes.

Some 4,200 women across Banff and Buchan have been impacted by this - they will not receive pensions until age 66.

The UK Government has accelerated the process of equalisation of pension ages for men and women. It means that women born in the 1950s have lost thousands in pensions without having sufficient time to plan for the changes.

Around 140 WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) groups now exist throughout the UK.

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has previously raised the issue in the House of Parliament. She said: “There are many women who were unaware of the plans and almost half a million who had only a years’ notice to change their retirement plans.

“Of course we are all aware of the challenges we face as a country with an ever growing ageing population but the UK Government should rethink this policy which punishes one particular age group. I am pleased to support WASPI and they have my full backing.”

Georgia Skinner, 62, works in the IT department at Aberdeenshire Council, and became involved with WASPI two years ago.

She said: “I only discovered the impact this would have on me on social media. I was shocked to find the rise in age was six years.

“In my current job I carry around heavy equipment and I tire easily. I want to spend time with my grandkids and my family. I love to craft too. I want to do things the way I had planned.

“Now I am making my voice heard and government should know all the women affected by this are going to make noise.”

Olive Sharpe, 61, is currently looking for fresh employment. After discovering the rise in retirement age, she set up the Banff and Buchan WASPI group, which now has a dozen members and is steadily growing.

She said: “The support from Eilidh Whiteford has been fantastic.

“The rise in age had a real psychological effect on me, knowing I was going to be working for so much longer than planned.

“When I got the first letter in 2010 I had no idea what the DWP was but was told I would be retiring in 10 years’ time not five and then discovered in 2012 from another letter it would be an additional year on top of that.”