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Suffolk County Council supports WASPI campaign for fair pension revisions

PUBLISHED: 08:57 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 December 2017

Suffolk County Council headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council headquarters. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Suffolk County Council has backed the plight of more than 34,000 women in Suffolk who have lost out in changes to pension contributions.

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign has been running since 2015 to support women born in the 1950s who lost out on the chance to get a full pension payment when the retirement age was raised.

The law changed in 1995, but campaigners said women affected were not being told until 2009.

More than 34,000 women across the county have been affected by the issue, with many facing having to work for longer and adapt pension and saving plans.

A motion was put forward at Suffolk County Council’s meeting on Thursday by Mandy Gaylard calling for the council to write to the secretary of State for Work and Pensions to reconsider the arrangements. It was unanimously passed.

Mrs Gaylard said: “I am delighted that the whole chamber could come together as one to support this motion.

“I know this show of unanimity will be appreciated by the large number of WASPI supporters who made the effort to watch the debate from the public gallery.

“We thank them for their tireless work and look forward to helping them with the next stage of their important campaign.”

Jack Owen, county councillor for Sudbury, said it was an issue that could affect the entire family, and many had situations outside of their control such as early retirement for health reasons or becoming a full time carer.

Question marks were also raised as to whether some of those having to stay on at work were able to do physical labour jobs well into their 60s.

Karen Sheldon from the campaign group said they were “delighted” to be given the cross-party support. She added: “It’s very much one of the top agendas to sort this crisis, and it’s a question of us continuing that pressure.” All campaigners have been encouraged to write a formal complaint to the Department for Work and Pensions, and have taken advice from a leading equality rights law firm.

The campaigners said that if a resolution was not found, legal action was a possibility.

Ms Sheldon added: “We all want to move on with our lives and make the most of our retirement, not to have to fight for what is morally ours.”

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