NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, is urging the Welsh Government to put pressure on the Prime Minister to help thousands of women in Wales, facing hardship because of new pension rules.
In 1995 the Conservative Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s State Pension Age to 65, the same as mens, and the 2011 Act saw a further increase to age 66.
Now Welsh UKIP leader Neil Hamilton, is calling on the Welsh Government to help fight this injustice to women, born on or after 6 April 1951 and implement fair transitional pension arrangements.
He is backing WASPI, Women Against State Pensions Inequality, who last week held a protest in Cardiff, on International Women’s Day.
As a long-time supporter of WASPi, an organisation, working throughout Wales and the UK campaigning for a fairer transition, Mr Hamilton said he was delighted to hear that Carmarthenshire County Council, has also thrown its weight behind the campaign.
Councillors have agreed to back 1950’s born women in the county, who are affected by new state pension arrangements, which mean many will have to work longer before they can retire.
A joint motion brought to council by Cllr Carl Harris and Cllr Tina Higgins, called on councillors to add their support to the campaign and recognise the hardship many women now face and this was unanimously agreed.
Now Carmarthenshire Council plan to make representation to the UK Government, on behalf of women affected by the pension changes in Carmarthenshire. It is believed that it has affected around 10,000 women in the county.
“We all know someone who is affected, and many of these are suffering financial hardship,” said Cllr Harris.
“The aim of the campaign is to achieve fair transitional arrangements. It’s important to note that 1950s born women are not asking for special treatment, but fair play. The state pension is not a benefit, it’s an entitlement for a lifetime of hard work.”
Neil Hamilton said: “I am pleased to see Carmarthenshire County Council taking up the fight for women in the county and urge other councils to also add their weight to the campaign.
“It is a national disgrace that thousands of women have been so seriously affected by changes to their pensions.
“I have personal experience of these injustices because my own sister and sister-in-law are both badly affected. It is grossly unfair that those born in the early 1950s are discriminated against in this way.
“Everyone understands the need to adjust pension arrangements but the system should be tapered so people do not find themselves falling off a financial cliff because their birthday is just the wrong side of a cut-off date.
“There is no shortage of money to spend on all sorts of useless Government projects but nothing apparently for otherwise deserving people, who have worked and paid into the system all their lives, just because they were born in the ‘wrong’ years
“I also feel that all Welsh AM’s have a duty to help these women in their fight. This is not a devolved issue but it affects thousands of women in Wales and as an Assembly Member the matter needs raising.
“I shall be writing once again to the First Minister to demand that he puts pressure on Theresa May to look again at the way the changes have been implemented.”