State pension alert: Waspi woman, 67, forced to keep working or risk ...

16 Jun 2024

One Waspi woman is speaking out about how the state pension for thousands is “not very much to live on” as pensioners across the UK are increasingly at risk of homelessness. Marion Williams, 67, from Newcastle spoke exclusively to GB News about the financial issues many women have been forced to contend with.

State pension - Figure 1
Photo GB News

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign is fighting for compensation to address inequities resulting from historic changes to the state pension. According to the charity Independent Age’s “Keys to the future: Projecting housing tenure and poverty rates in later life” report, pensioners across Britain are on the brink financially.

The report found that poverty among older people will increase from 17 per cent to 23 per cent without intervention. As a result, this would mean that the number of people living in poverty in retirement may jump from 2.1 million in 2022 to 3.9 million people by 2040.

Notably, poverty will rise more for older women than their male counterparts, jumping from 20 per cent currently to an estimated 26 per cent in 16 years. For many women born in the 1950s, the oncoming poverty crisis is already worsened by the Government’s failure to fairly implement changes to the pension system.

Williams explained: “The biggest impact for me was my employer not understanding the rules themselves. Many Waspi women did not receive notification, I didn’t receive anything to tell me of the change.

“They [the employer] hadn't given me a pension and I didn’t have any big pension to fall back on, so I’ve been picking up temporary jobs. Here, there and everywhere.

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Campaigners are calling on policymakers to do more for women born in the 1950s WASPI

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Photo GB News

“I’ve been very lucky to pick them up, it’s not easy and that’s how I’ve survived. I’m now 67 and I got my pension last year which is nice, but not very much. I couldn’t live on it.”

Based on Independent Age’s research, the proportion of pensioners living in the private rented sector more than trebles from four per cent in 2022 to 13 per cent in 2040.

For Williams, as a leaseholder, there is additional financial stress she has to deal with. According to the Waspi woman, the growing trend of older Britons no longer owning their home outright compounds the existing issues of retirement living in the UK.

Williams added: “The management fee I pay each month is more than my mortgage used to be. I could find myself homeless for not paying that. We’ve also got the lease running out and, as I get older, I just won’t be able to live in that type of accommodation so I just have to keep working.”

What is the Waspi campaign?

Some 3.8 million women in the UK are believed to have been detrimentally impacted by the state pension age equalisation between the sexes in 2010.

In 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was found guilty by the PHSO of “maladministration” in handling the change as many were inadequately informed.

Earlier this year, the ombudsman recommended a Level 4 amount of compensation to those affected, which comes to between £1,000 and £2,950. Furthermore, the PHSO determined it was the responsibility of MPs to decide and vote on any payout amount.

Ahead of the General Election next month, both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP) have pledged to stand by the PHSO’s report.

Future generations of pensioners will be unable to rent if the housing crisis continuesPA

“But those who once claimed to be our biggest champions now seem to have forgotten us despite making promises to victims of other scandals.

“With millions of affected women carefully considering how to cast their votes in the coming weeks, there is still time for Labour to reconfirm its support for those who have been so badly let down by the Conservatives.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Conservatives had months to respond to the ombudsman report.

“We have said throughout the campaign that if we came into office, we would pick up that work. We will not make any pledges we can’t deliver.”

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