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Newport politicians join pension protest

CAMPAIGNERS from Newport joined in a protest against new rules which may mean more than 2.6 million women in the UK have to work longer before they can claim their state pension.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden and her Newport West counterpart in the Senedd Jayne Bryant were among campaigners who took part in a rally in Cardiff Bay organised by Women Against State Pensions Inequality (WASPI) on Friday, September 16.

The group, which also included Caerphilly MP Wayne David, marched from the front of the Senedd to the nearby Welsh Office to deliver a petition against the government’s decision to implement the changes, which will impact any woman born on or after April 6 1951, earlier than previously planned.

Ms Morden said: “In Newport East alone around 3,320 women are affected by the Pensions Act 2011.

“I have heard from some of these women, many of whom received no warning of the changes to their pensions, and instead found out through reading it in a newspaper, or online, or through a family member.

“In moving the goalposts the government has either chosen to ignore, or has shown a complete disregard for the difficulty women face in trying to make alternative arrangements at this late stage to try and compensate for the money that will be lost.

“Many will have worked in part-time roles and faced the difficulty of building up private pension provisions, particularly in a job market which still isn’t a level playing field for women.”

And Ms Bryant said: “These cuts are discriminating against women of a certain age through an unfair and ill-thought through policy.

“I wholeheartedly support the WASPI campaign and would urge the UK Government to reconsider.”

Although then-work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith made a commitment five years ago to consider putting measures in place to lessen the blow, WASPI has argued little has been done since.

A spokesman for the Department for Works and Pensions said: “The equalisation of the state pension age was announced over 20 years ago and rights a longstanding inequality.

“Women retiring today can still expect to receive a higher state pension over their lifetime than any women before them, and 10 per cent more state pension than men of their age because they will on average live longer.”

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