Sheffield MP calls on Government to support city women affected by pension changes

MP Paul Blomfield with Sheffield WASPI campaigners
MP Paul Blomfield with Sheffield WASPI campaigners

A Sheffield MP has challenged the Government support women who have been affected by changes to their state pension.

Central MP Paul Blomfield said thousands of women born in the 1950s were not given 'fair notice' to the changes.

Mr Blomfield, in a letter to the Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman, said one Sheffield woman had lost thousands of pounds after the Government changed the rules in 2011, just three years after she had taken early retirement to support her elderly mother.

The city MP also called for 'fair transitional state pension arrangements' for women who were not given sufficient notice of changes to their state pension age

Speaking after a heated debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Blomfield wrote to the Minister to press the demands of Sheffield WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaigners he recently met, urging the Government to take action to support them.

“Almost 3.5 million women have lost pension income that they were expecting through changes to their state pension age. Nobody disagrees with equalising the state pension age, but these women were not given the notice to plan for the changes.

"Many have lost tens of thousands of pounds. The Government must listen to the WASPI women and put in place transitional arrangements and compensation.”

The Pensions Act 1995 legislated for women’s state pension age to rise from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020.

In 2011 the Coalition Government accelerated part of the timetable, starting in April 2016 when women’s pension age was 63 so that it will reach 65 in November 2018. The equalised age will then rise to 66 by October 2020.

Many women were not given sufficient notice of these changes and did not have enough time to make alternative financial arrangements, Mr Blomfield added.

Speaking at the debate in Westminster Hall, Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman, said: "The reality is over 200,000 people over 60 have entered further education since 2014/15.

"We have also extended apprenticeship opportunities as one of the best routes to skilled employment for people of all ages and gender.

"Such apprenticeships in England, for example, in 2014/15... 12 per cent of the starting apprenticeships were for those aged 45."