Luke Pollard MP has given an update on the campaign for pension justice for Women of the 1950's following the debate in Westminster Hall last Wednesday 5th July 2017
Many people from both sides of the House wanted to speak in support of the WASPI campaign for transitional arrangements to be made for women born in the 1950's. Unfortunately this meant the Luke was not called to speak in the debate. Below is a copy of the speech he had hoped to give:-
Thank you for calling me in this debate.
I should like to declare an interest that I am the son of a WASPI won and I am proud be so.
There are 78,466 women who deserve pension justice in Devon. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has a further 33,000. In the Plymouth there are 8,000 women and in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport there are 5,703.
All these women deserve justice for the pensions that were taken from them. During the recent months I have been proud to be a WASPI campaigner and proud to stand alongside some of the most eloquent, passionate and determined campaigners I have ever met in Devon WASPI.
I want to speak about just one of these brave women: Ellie. She lives in Plymouth and had no notification of pension changes. She expected to retire at 60 in 2014. Due to the lack of notice she is now struggling to pay bills.
Ellie and her husband have had to sell possessions, down-size their home and are struggling to find work to pay the bills. The coaching for older workers returning to work is not available or good enough.
Ellie, like so many women, are proud women. They have worked hard, paid their taxes and believed that when they retired the state would honour the obligations set out to support them. That hasn’t happened and needs to. For Ellie, Jackie and Morticia and so many other brilliant and inspiring WASPI women in Plymouth I want to tell the Minister that this matters and we won’t stop asking for the fair settlement these women deserve.
No Conservatives signed the WASPI pledge in this election in Plymouth but I did. I promised I would fight for WASPI women in Plymouth and across the far south west and I am proud to stand alongside other honorable members in doing just that today.
Can I ask the Minister in particular to look at what transitional arrangements can be introduced and how women who are preparing to retire can be informed of the changes to their pension age before they give up work.
The poverty and financial difficulties faced by many women in Plymouth has been compounded by an unwillingness by Government to address this problem. These women are looking for dignity in retirement and a fair deal.
I hope the Minister will recognise the strength of feeling of WASPI women and the determination of new members like myself to fight for them. Given the Government is so fast to u-turn on so many topics could I ask that the WASPI policy is added to the u-turn machine in Downing Street and so the thousands of women in Plymouth and the far south west get pension justice at long last.