Emotions run high at Budget day protest

East Devon members of WASPI meet Sir Hugo Swire outside Westminster

East Devon members of WASPI meet Sir Hugo Swire outside Westminster - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth campaigners have described their latest protest as ‘emotional’ after taking their fight for ‘unfair’ changes to women’s pensions to Westminster.

Some 6,000 supporters gathered outside the House of Commons last Wednesday to express their disappointment no arrangements had been made in the Budget for women born in the 1950s.

East Devon members of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) are backing a national campaign calling on the Government for relief from the changes to increase the age of retirement from 60 to 66.

WASPI says the changes were first outlined under the 1995 Pensions Act, yet some of the women affected were not notified until up to 17 years later – leaving them with little time to make alternative financial arrangements.

Julie Davies and Jenny Velterop from Sidmouth were among the protesters on the day, which also marked International Women’s Day.

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The campaigners said: “It was very emotional to take part in such a large gathering of people who recognise the devastating impact that the lack of notice has had on lives. The majority of women there were like us in many ways - they too had worked hard all their lives, had scrimped and saved and brought up their families through bad times and good, only to find that the lack of notice about these changes has destroyed their retirement plans and left many in financial hardship.

“It is fitting that it was also International Women’s Day. This is a good time to take stock of the achievements of women but also to consider the barriers and issues still facing them.”

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“This is an issue which affects millions of older women in this country and one that needs to be urgently addressed.”

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