Sandwell councillors have backed a motion calling for a fairer deal for women born in the 1950s affected by a reduction in the state pension age. Representatives from campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) joined Sandwell's full council meeting this week to hear the motion put forward. Councillor Syeda Khatun, the council's deputy leader, thanked the women for attending the meeting and praised their ongoing campaign efforts.
Councillor Khatun read out the motion, which states: "This council calls upon the Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for all women born on or after 6 April 1951, who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the state pension age with lack of appropriate notification.
"Whilst accepting that retirement ages for women and men should be the same, this council believes that the rise in the women's state pension age has been too rapid and has happened without sufficient notice being given to the women affected, leaving women with no time to make alternative arrangements.
"The council notes that up to 18,000 women in Sandwell have had significant pension changes imposed on them by the Pensions Acts of 1995 and 2011 with little or no personal notification of the changes.
"Some women had only two years notice of a six-year increase to their state pension age. Many Sandwell women born in the 1950s are living in hardship. Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.
"Many of these women are already out of the labour market, caring for elderly relatives, providing childcare for grandchildren, or suffer discrimination in the workplace and so struggle to find employment.
"Women born in this decade are suffering financially and now face the loss of up to £40,000 in pension income. These women have worked hard, raised families and paid their tax and national insurance with the expectation that they would be financially secure when reaching 60.
"The council calls upon the Government to reconsider transitional arrangements for women born on or after 6 April 1951, so that women do not live in hardship due to pension changes they were not told about until it was too late to make alternative arrangements."