Campaigners from Waspi East Kent were among hundreds of purple-clad 1950s women who flocked to London on International Women’s Day (March 8) to highlight their campaign for pension justice.
They joined a rally in Parliament Square organised by 1950s Women United to remind politicians of the fight for compensation which campaigners say is due because of the lack of notice of the increase in their state pension age from 60 to 65. This has since been increased to 66 for both men and women.
In June 2019 the Backto60 campaign group brought a judicial review case to the Divisional Court over the state pension changes affecting some 3.9 million women born in the 1950s.
They were calling for this cohort of women to receive their state pension from the age of 60. The action was supported by other women’s pension rights groups including Waspi (Women against state pension injustice).
Up until 2010 women were eligible for their state pension when they reached the age of 60 but changes have seen this rise with the age at which women qualify for the state pension moving up to 66 for both men and women.
A legal challenge to the way the Government changed the pension age for women was dismissed by the High Court in 2019 with a finding in favour of the government. An appeal brought the following year was also lost.
In 2021 the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) ruled that the Department of Work and Pensions had committed maladministration when it failed to give women born in the 1950s adequate notice that they would have to wait several years longer to receive their State Pensions. The Ombudsman’s investigation is continuing.
East Kent Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) members Timandra French and Adrienne Ayres, plus others, braved the weather and train disruption to reach the rally.
Timandra (pictured) said: I wasn’t going to let the snow stop.me. By the time we reached London the snow had turned to rain. We were greeted by a sea of purple brollies in Parliament Square.”
Adrienne (pictured) added: “There was a fantastic crowd of women dressed in purple. It was a brilliant atmosphere and it was great to meet women from all over the country. It’s obvious that women still feel very strongly that we have been mistreated. This rally has made it clear that we won’t give up until we get fair and fast compensation for the lack of notice of the changes to our pension age”.
Fresh legal action to start a Judicial Review was launched by the Women Against State Pension Inequality group on March 3.