London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Generation of women in debt after 'absolutely devastating' state pension fallout

Generation of women in debt after 'absolutely devastating' state pension fallout

Data shared with Sky News from WASPI found a third of women affected by the changes are in debt, with as many as 80% saying they suffered financial hardship by the delay in finding out the retirement age had changed.

For 3.8 million women born in the 1950s, retiring at 60 was all they knew.

Until suddenly, they learned that they would have to wait a further six years to get their state pension.

An additional six years of working none of them, including Moira Holland, had planned for.

Ms Holland had dedicated 35 years of her working life to the care sector, after gruelling and tiresome work she was ready to retire at 60 and was counting down the days until she would be able to enjoy her retirement.

Vigorous work had also taken its toll on her mental and physical health, but knowing she was a year from retiring got her through the tough days.

The devastating blow came via a letter, informing her a year before she was due to say goodbye to work, that she would have to work for six more years and retire at 66 instead.

"It was devastating, absolutely devastating," Ms Holland tells Sky News. "We thought at 60 years old we'd get our pension.

"So I was all set up to retire, have a nice life, get my pension, be able to manage well, and then to get the letter to say no – 'you've not got to work one more year, you've got to work six more years till you're 66' – was terrible, absolutely terrible."

Ms Holland says the last-minute nature of the news has impacted her health.

"I had mental health problems and arthritis, you know really physically and mentally, I was really struggling, really struggling to work," she explains.

"Also, lots of my friends died at 60, and they never got their pension. So on top of the health problems, I'm thinking, am I ever going to see this pension? Am I going to live to be 66? Nobody knows. So really, it was very, very heart-wrenching."

Moira Holland

Why was the state pension age changed?

The state pension age was aligned to match men in a move praised for improving gender equality.

But campaigners from Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have long argued they were not given sufficient warning of the change, leaving millions with insufficient time to prepare or make other financial arrangements.

What has the impact been?

Exclusive data shared with Sky News from WASPI found a third of women affected by the changes are in debt, with as many as 80% saying they suffered financial hardship by the delay in finding out the retirement age had changed.

So far, 220,190 women impacted have died without answers.

Campaign chair of the voluntary organisation, Angela Madden, accuses the government of not meeting with members since 2016.

She tells Sky News: "The government has never really engaged with us. Guy Opperman was the last pensions minister to meet with the WASPI campaign in 2016, which really is atrocious given that we have lost so much through government incompetence.

"It is up to the government to change the state pension age if they must.

"There were probably reasons they did that, but not to have the courtesy to give us any notice so that we can do anything about it is absolutely disgraceful, and they should be ashamed of themselves."

Campaign chair of the voluntary organisation WASPI Angela Madden

'I wasn't given the opportunity'

Last year, the Parliamentary Ombudsman found the women should have been given at least 28 months' more notice.

It said the Department for Work and Pensions should have written individual letters to the affected women.

Ms Madden was also personally affected by the maladministration.

"Some women, myself included, chose to stop working before we knew about the state pension age increasing because our parents or members of our family required care," she says.

"I made the choice to leave a full time job and spend some time with my mother in her final days.

"Looking back, if given an earlier warning, I would have probably combined caring for my mother and working part-time. I wasn't given the opportunity to make that choice.

"Had the government done what they should have done and told us as soon as they knew about the law changing, then we would have all known about it well in advance and been able to make the right decisions."

What has the government said?

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson told Sky News: "We support millions of people every year and our priority is ensuring they get the help and support to which they are entitled.

"The government decided over 25 years ago it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a move towards gender equality.

"Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP under successive governments dating back to 1995 and the Supreme Court refused the claimants' permission to appeal."


Related Articles

London Daily
EU to Transfer Interest from Frozen Russian Funds to Ukraine
Greenpeace Co-Founder Paul Watson Arrested in Greenland
EU Relocates Summit to Punish Hungary over Orban's Ukraine Visit
Netanyahu Seeks Meeting with Trump During Washington Visit
World's Hottest Day Recorded on July 21
UK Labour Government To Halt Migrant Housing on Accommodation Barge
President Biden Returns to White House After Testing COVID Negative
Trump Says Kamala Harris Would Be Easier Election Opponent Than Biden
Thousands Protest in Mallorca Against Mass Tourism
Immigration Crackdown Targets Car Washes and Beauty Sector
Nigeria's Controversial Return to Colonial-Era National Anthem
Hacking Vulnerabilities: Androids vs. iPhones
Ukraine Crisis Should Be EU's Responsibility, Says Trump’s Envoy
A Week of Turmoil: Key Moments in US Politics
Barrow's Sacred Heart Primary School Faces Long-Term Closure
German National Sentenced to Death in Belarus
Elon Musk's Companies Drop CrowdStrike After Global Windows 10 Outage
US Advises India on Russian Ties Amid Geopolitical Shifts
Trump Pledges to End Ukraine Conflict if Reelected
Global IT Outage Unveils Digital Vulnerabilities
Global IT Outage Sparks Questions About Financial Accountability
CrowdStrike Bug Affects 8.5 Million Windows Devices
Flights Resume After Major Microsoft Outage
US Criticizes International Court's Opinion on Israeli Occupation
CrowdStrike Update Causes Global IT Outage Due to Skipped Quality Checks
EU’s Patronizing Attitude Towards Africa Revealed
Netanyahu Denounces World Court Ruling on Israeli Occupation
Adidas Drops Bella Hadid Over Controversy
Global Outage Caused by CrowdStrike Update Impacts Millions
Massive Flight Cancellations Across the U.S. Due to Microsoft Outage
Global Windows Outage Causes Chaos Across Banks, Airlines, and More
Russia Accuses Ukraine of Using Chemical Weapons
UK's Flawed COVID-19 Planning Exposed by Inquiry
Ursula von der Leyen Wins Second Term as European Commission President
Police Officer Injured in Attack in Central Paris
Hulk Hogan absolutely tore it up at the RNC.
Paris is being "cleansed" of migrants and homeless people ahead of the Olympics.
Lamine Yamal arriving at his school after winning the Euros
Campaigners Urge UK Government to Block Shein's London IPO
UK Labour Government's Legislative Agenda
UK Labour Government to Regulate Powerful AI Models
Record Heat Temperatures in Ukraine Amid Power Crisis
UK Government Plans to Remove 92 Hereditary Peers from House of Lords
King Charles III Delivers Labour Government's First King's Speech
Officials Remove 'Disastrous' Label from Liz Truss's Mini-Budget
Keir Starmer Outlines Ambitious Plans for Government
Japan to Allocate $3.3 Billion to Ukraine Using Frozen Russian Assets
EU Parliament Condemns Hungarian PM's Russia Visit
FBI Struggles to Find Motive Behind Trump Shooting Incident
Kremlin Criticizes EU Rejection of Orban’s Ukraine Peace Proposal