Kay Anne Clarke – My Story

My story, a reflection of many women currently fighting the WASPI campaign for justice.  A campaign largely overlooked by the media.  A campaign that saw over two and a half thousand ladies pay an orderly, peaceful very well received visit to the Houses of Parliament on 29 June 2016.  A campaign hugely overlooked by politicians who hope that we will simply Buzzzzz Off!
We ladies of a certain age have been so badly hit by the lack of fair transitional arrangements for the receipt of our pension. My own circumstances reflect that of many women who were expecting to receive a pension at the age of 60. When we started our working lives there was no equal pay, no pre school nurseries, no tax credits, no help with childcare other than willing family members and most women gave up work to have their children.  I gave up the highest salary and took on work to fit around my husband’s working day to make ends meet.
I continued to do this for many years.  At one point I had three jobs, all of which were low paid but fitted in with family life.
I was not given the luxury of a company pension as most of my employers offered a zero hours contract even though I continued to pay my tax and national insurance in the knowledge that it was contributing towards a pension which I have always been given to believe would be returned to me at the age of 60.  At this point I would add that neither my Mother, maternal grandmother and great grandmother were fortunate enough to reach the age of 60 resulting in contributions made by them never being reimbursed by means of a pension.  I would also add that it is my hope given their sad history of health issues that I will be fortunate enough to live long enough to collect mine!
I was given just three years notice in 2012 of the changes to my pension age.  This was a mere three months after I was finally able to set up a company pension but unfortunately also three months before I was made redundant from a post I had held for 13 years.
I have been unable to find suitable employment since that time and have now resigned myself to the fact that seeking employment at the age of 61 is too stressful and a nigh on impossibility! I personally will have been denied £46,800 in pension payments by the time I reach 66 and feel very strongly that fair transitional arrangements should be set in place to help us in our plight.
In 1940 both Men and Women retired at 65.  The government decided to reduce the age for Women to 60 to make it fair for Men as they married younger women and found they were working longer in order to retire at the same age as their younger spouses. In 1995 the government decided to change it again to make it fair for Men in order that Women retired at the same age.
I do agree that both men and women be treated equally and fairly, but in this case we never have and for many of us we never will.
WASPI’s aim is to achieve fair transitional pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s affected by State Pension Age changes. This translates into a ‘bridging’ pension to provide an income from age 60 until State Pension Age. NOT means-tested and with compensation for losses for those women who have already reached their SPA. We do not ask for a reversal of any Pension Act to age 60.
WASPI is campaigning for ALL women affected i.e. we do not favour a specific age group above others.
The WASPI Campaign has over 140 local groups active throughout the UK and one in Europe. Please visit our website for a list of all Official Local Groups.www.waspi.co.uk
WASPI continue to engage with MP’s from the APPG. The purpose of the WASPI All Party Political Group (APPG) reflects the aim of our campaign:- “To provide a cross-party forum in which to hold the government to account on the issue of transitional arrangements to compensate 1950s-born women who are affected by changes to the State Pension Age and to campaign on issues around the State Pension Age”. Top London law firm Bindmans are representing WASPI in their legal challenge.
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Together we stand strong! Together we will achieve justice. Onwards and Upwards!
Visit our website regularly for updates and details of our campaign.