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Steve Bee: Why still no justice for Waspi women?  

Steve BeeFor calls for change to still be falling on deaf ears in 2018 is beyond disappointing

There is a serious issue with our pension system today that has been allowed to continue for many years with no resolution.

Over 20 years ago, the government decided to require millions of older people in the future to remain in the workforce for longer. This decision was in response to the generally accepted view of increases in longevity.

At the same time, it also decided to equalise the state pension age for men and women. Time was allowed for people to adjust to the new order and nobody born before 1950 was affected.

This meant men and women born in the 1950s were to be the first generation to have access to state pensions at the same age. For some, that common age would be at above 65.

Steve Bee: Are advisers ready for the real baby boomers?

For many 1950s-born women, this would amount to a double whammy increase to their previously expected state pension age, in terms of both equalisation and the general rise.

The originally established timetable to implement this enormous work of social engineering was changed substantially in 2011, when it was decided to accelerate the planned increases to the new common pension age.

For many 1950s-born women already affected by two increases to their expected state pension age, this policy acceleration caused huge unease.

That general sense of unease coalesced into the Women Against State Pension Inequality protest movement, which called for a Parliamentary re-think of the policies and the social and financial effects they had had on so many people – many of whom had not even been aware of the changes.

Much of the ensuing debate centred on the poor communication of such important information on the part of successive governments. But even if they had ensured all affected were aware in advance, there would still have been many who could do little or nothing to alleviate their likely poor financial situation in the future.

Steve Bee: Is this the best we can do on pensions?

When legislation as far-reaching as this is enacted, it affects whole generations of people across society. For many, the changes could be accommodated within their existing financial plans, particularly the wealthy and those with generous workplace pension schemes. But very few in each generation are wealthy and only around half the UK working population have had access to workplace pension schemes over the last 60 years.

Many women are having to support others while living with severe financial hardships themselves

Those born in the 1950s, like any other generation, would also have had many among them duty-bound to become unpaid carers of their parents or partners as their lives came to an end.

Many women are in just that situation today; having to support others while living with severe financial hardship themselves. That they do so is of great credit to them. It is also to their credit they question why the implementation of such policies did not come hand in hand with proper protection for those most at risk.

It is right the Waspi campaigners are calling on those who govern us to consider more carefully the human outcomes of their decisions and policies.

That such a debate was not held prior to 1995 was bad enough. But for the calls for transitional arrangements to still be falling on deaf ears in 2018 appears both unseemly and unkind.

Steve Bee is director at Jargonfree Benefits



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There are 57 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Either the sexes are treated equally under the law or they are not. WASPI women seem to wish equality on pay but not pension. These changes were proposed decades ago and any change has winners and losers.

    • Neil Liversidge 12th March 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Correct. Methinks the WASPIs doth protest too much.

      • Neil Liversidge 12th March 2018 at 3:48 pm

        Hopefully, one effect of leaving the EU might be that reality replaces dogma, so women pay less for life and car insurance and men get better annuity rates. The current situation is illogical. It is NOT discrimination to price according to actuarially provable probability. Not in the real world anyway, but hey, we know the Eurocrats don’t live in the real world, cosseted as they are in their ivory towers.

    • Yes they were but they never bothered to inform us of it number 1 then they had the nerve to up the age for a second time with only 18 months notice , How were we expected to plan for it if we didn’t know about it , If you men had been told after paying in from the age of 15 you had a further 6 years to wait I expect you might of protested to much also .

    • Exactly!
      1995 the law was changed and quite rightly!

      • Lesley townsend 20th March 2018 at 4:37 pm

        As I said previously letters should have been sent in 1995 informing of the change in pension age instead in my case it was 14 years later, 2 years away from my 60th birthday, two years to plan for my retirement lol lol

  2. That’s one view Steve. But it’s not the only one. It’s all in who and what you choose for comparators, and how qualitative rather than quantitative your arguments are (eg “Some people are affected….”; how many is “some”? or “Many people…”; how many is “many” precisely?)

    Just an observation on today’s loaded prose that people often don’t even notice themselves writing. Emotion undermines the argument.

  3. Cameron Young- Women want equality on pay and pensions yes. What you dont understand is the way these women have been told or not told about changes to their pension dates. The comunication from the DWP was very poor and the timescale these women have been given left very little time to prepare them for this extended retirement date. Compensate them and get it over with. 🙂

    • Nicholas Pleasure 12th March 2018 at 4:42 pm

      My retirement date has been extended too. But I’m a man so I guess that’s OK.

      Equal treatment cuts both ways and the government understands this which is why no compensation will be forthcoming. Compensate the women and the men will form a class action for discrimination.

      Men were discriminated against for years on State pensions, where’s the call for compensation for them??

      • I bet you were not born between 1950 to 1955 Nicholas. Its the time scale or the notice of change that the WASPI’s got that is the problem. I am sure you a young buck like you will have time to prepare for your retirement.

        • There was at least 15 years notice for state pension equalisation.

          A woman born in 1961 is worse affected than those born in the 1950s, so it is bizarre that you would single out that group.

          The only valid claim WASPIs have is about the accelerated 2011 Act. If the campaign had focused on this they may have achieved something.

          “Preparation” for retirement looks much the same regardless of when SPA is. It’s not like young women can plant magic beans that will replicate a SPA of 60.

      • By one year poor you try waiting the extra 6 see if you could manage on fresh air .

        • Lesley townsend 16th March 2018 at 4:11 pm

          I totally agree with you

          • Unicorn Pensioner 19th March 2018 at 9:55 pm

            Please remember that the years you mention were to catch up with men who had to work 5 years more. Bizarre wasn’t it?
            Still going on of course , equalisation doesn’t come in line till November this year.

        • So in simple terms you freely admit that the only thing your complaining about is that you have to wait longer. in your case 6 years longer.

          I don’t see you complaining about the fact that Women used to get the state pension 5 years earlier than men, despite on average living significantly longer?

          I don’t see you complaining about the new single tier state pension that’s probably going to pay you significantly more than you would have previously gotten under the old system?

          So in simple terms, what you are complaining about, is that you have to potentially work another 6 years on a part time basis, to replace the pension you would have gotten.

          So really what you are complaining about is having to support yourself, rather than having your children and grandchildren do so.

          So really and truly, WASPI needs a rename. Women against state pension equality. Because you sure as heck aren’t complaining about “inequality”, your complaining that special treatment that you thought you were going to get now isn’t going to happen.

          By the way, who do you think would pay for you to get your pension earlier?

          The answer to that question is your children, grandchildren and as yet unborn future generations, who are going to be paying for the debt wracked up by the current generations for probably about a hundred years. And you think you’re in favour of “fairness”?

    • The law was changed in 1995. Plenty of time to make arrangements for someone still in their 30’s and 40’s.

    • The DWP did all they needed to. This law was introduced in the 1995 budget.

  4. Any major changes to pensions should only come into effect for those that had not yet started paying contributions.

    When Equitable Life wanted to renege on its promises most people thought that was highly unfair to those that suffered because of their actions. Funny how it seems to be OK to break promises given to Waspi women, to some of you guys, when you think it affects you (directly or indirectly).
    It makes me wonder if you think that it’s OK because they are ‘just’women.

    • The reality is that all women born after April 1950, and all men after December 1953 have had their state pension age increased. The vast majority of working men and women in the country are directly affected by at least one of the four acts of parliament that have changed state pension age.

      It is of course a lot easier to make veiled accusations of misogyny than it is to confront the logical flaws and factual inaccuracies that have blighted the WASPI campaign since its inception.

      • I didn’t think there was anything vague about my accusations of mysogeny Mick.
        Do you disagree with my comment “Any major changes to pensions should only come into effect for those that had not yet started paying contributions.”
        Men are included in that statement and there is nothing illogical (just ideological) or factually inaccurate about it.

        • The state pension scheme is a collective benefit system run on a pay as you go basis. It’s not a savings scheme – the benefits people take out in a given year are paid for by whatever everyone else paid in that year.

          Therefore it needs to be run on a basis that ensures it is sustainable and fair across generations. If changes are required for better or worse, they should be introduced in a way that is balanced and fair to those paying in and those taking out.

          Suggesting that once you start paying NICs (which are essentially just another form of tax) you should be exempt from major changes for the next 45-50 years is completely absurd, bearing in mind the social contract that has to apply across generations.

          That isn’t to say that all changes have been good or that I agree with them; the principle though is that the state legally and morally has the right (and obligation) to make changes when necessary.

  5. Lesley townsend 14th March 2018 at 12:12 pm

    What I would like to know as the proposed pension age was being changed back in 1995 why didn’t I get my letter from the dwp informing me of my new state retirement pension age then instead I received it in 2013 three years away from my 60th birthday

    • Unicorn Pensioner 19th March 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Because they didn’t have to send you a letter. Don’t listen to the voices about these letters.

    • So in simple terms, you’re complaining that you didn’t get an “official letter”.

      Or are you also saying you buried your head in the sand for 18 years and somehow managed to miss this piece of information? Despite it being massively covered on TV, Radio and papers for 18 years..

  6. Mike Hudson.
    A man born after 1953 has had 1 year added to his retirement date.
    A woman born between 1950 and 1955 has has 6 years added.
    And you think that is fair!
    In the great scheme of things the WASPI women are few in number , get them compensated.

    • @ Lawrie

      Men born after 1953 have had upto 3 years added to their state pension age.

      A woman born after 1961 has had 7 years. Some born later have had 8 years.

      I have not stated that all changes were fair. The 2011 changes for example were patently unfair.

      The common point I make repeatedly is that virtually everyone has been affected. There is therefore absolutely no reason to arbitrarily ringfence women born upto 31st December 1959 and say that they alone should be compensated. Any solution needs to be targeted and take everybody into consideration.

      Highlighting this for some bizarre reason leads to random accusations of misogyny, smugness, entitlement, toryness, etc.

      After 3 years of getting nowhere, you’d think the penny would have dropped. It’s not “all about you”, and the louder you claim it is, the less chance there is of any resolution being found.

    • Yes very fair. You try to forget that the rise in women’s pension age was needed to correct a wrong. Men had to work 5 years more than a woman. Outrageous.
      It’s still going on of course. It won’t be till November this year when at last we can enjoy equality. Men and women retiring at the same age.

  7. Lorraine McColl 15th March 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Uplifting to see some positive comments here about the 1950s women. I discovered aged 57.5 that my pension will be paid age 66 in 2024. All my workin life since 15 I have been paid less than my male equivalents and I was looking forward to retiring at 60. Life plan completely shot through now. No Letter No Notice No Pension. Been caring for my father, till he died last year, for 6 years.Thought it was going to be my time now but now I have to carry on working. So unfair. So unjust. So heartbreaking. Thanks Steve Bee for your continued support. Some of the male commentators here really ought to come to a WASPI meeting and get a reality check.

    • I’m afraid the young bucks on this page who are not affected by these changes are not listening. They are quite happy to critisise any reasonable arguement against the changes.
      If it was affecting their retirement they would be the first to complain.

      • You do realise that the “young bucks” on this page are already expecting to be receiving a state pension no earlier than at age 70 because the system is unaffordable? My own planning is focused on the assumption that I will never receive a pension from the state because I genuinely think it will have to be pushed back further and further to make it work under the current funding model.

        As such, the ongoing changes to the state pension DO affect our retirements, and you are effectively asking all of us to work longer or pay more tax so that you can be paid for considerably longer than we ever will be.

        Complaining that you can’t get a full pension at 60 is therefore not going to generate much sympathy unless you are pushing strongly for everyone to get a full state pension from age 60. If so, what is the funding model you propose for this?

      • Were it a reasonable argument, they might listen. However it’s not…

        In simple terms, these ladies expect to get preferential treatment, whilst expecting the “young bucks” to pay for it.

        They are complaining that they have to work part time for a few years longer, that doesn’t require any radical shakeup in their planning, it simply means they need to delay their retirement age a little.

        If you chose to still believe that they are right, please explain to me, what hardship or “inequality” these women are complaining about?

        To any normal person, they appear to be complaining about being treated equally..

        Do you hear any men complaining about having their pension age increased at the same short notice?

        As for the idea, that they somehow for 20 years missed noticing that they weren’t going to get their pension at 60, it’s truly laughable unless they lived on a dessert island cut off from information..

  8. Everybody born after the early 1950s is affected by the necessary rises to State Pension age, we should be celebrating increased longevity, instead a small group are talking about being “robbed”. Most will still receive way more than paid in, even if the commencement date is later than it was when they started work. On average, people are living 17 years longer than 40 years ago, therefore a 6 year increase to State Pension Age is completely reasonable.

    • Yes John these WASPI’s are selfish. They don’t care about men nor the women that follow them! Ultimate studpidy of the WASPI ask is the cliff edge they would create for the women born on 1st January 1960.

  9. Lesley townsend 15th March 2018 at 9:09 pm

    I have had six years added to my original state retirement pension age of 60 i doubt very much i will be compensated

    • Yes John these WASPI’s are selfish. They don’t care about men nor the women that follow them! Ultimate studpidy of the WASPI ask is the cliff edge they would create for the women born on 1st January 196

    • Lesley I truly hope you will get no compensation. It would be so unjust.

      • Lesley townsend 20th March 2018 at 4:43 pm

        There’s no need to worry yourself i won’t be getting anything by the time I’m 66 I would have saved forty thousand pounds, I think that’s very generous on my behalf

    • Women aren’t losing anything, they’re just no longer getting the unjust and unjustifiable privilege at the expense of men and the young that older women have enjoyed.

      Even so they’re still getting a good deal as women live longer than men so will have more years in which to draw their pensions anyway. Retirement ages would have to be based on people’s expected date of death rather than their birth dates to genuinely level the playing field. This would mean women retiring at 69 years after birth to be equivalent to men retiring at 66.

      Perhaps the WASPI campaigners would be well advised to recognise they’ve got a good thing going for them (even if it’s not quite as good as if they’d been born a bit earlier) and keep schtum!

  10. Joelle lebrument 18th March 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Totally agree with you.
    Unfortunately the fight against the 1995 act is weakening the real issue which should concentrate on the 2011 act..
    By arguing the 1995 act, we are strengthening the government stance and we will remain in a losing battle.

    • Unicorn Pensioner 19th March 2018 at 9:51 pm

      Joelle I agree 100%. Campaign about the 2011 acceleration. Horrible law!
      But that’s not WASPI’s ask.

    • I really am curious, please explain to me why having your state pension age increased (albeit it at relatively short notice) is such a hardship?

      If as you say ignore the 1995 argument, then your complaining that you might have to work on a very part time basis, in a low stress job for an extra 1 year.

      I’m curious as to how you think this is such a hardship?

      Especially given that you expect other people to pay for it?

      • Lesley townsend 21st March 2018 at 3:07 pm

        Excuse me just to let you know I have contributed 40 years national insurance contributions which I hasten to add looked after pensioners at that time so you could say I was expected to pay for them

        • Lesley townsend 21st March 2018 at 5:31 pm

          Get a job , that’s a joke did you know 30 plus people apply for one job advertised that’s the real world

        • Unicorn Pensioner 21st March 2018 at 6:43 pm

          Lesley. You have paid NI as you worked the same as a man.
          If you worked with pensioners you will know there are many and they live for longer.
          Something had to change and the SPA had to rise.

        • And by the time I get my state pension (if it hasn’t been abolished by then) I will have paid 52 years of NI Lesley, so your point is what?

          Basically what your saying is, that because it was what it was in the past, that should continue, or at least just for you.

          When the State pension was introduced in its first modern format, the average life expectancy for men was 63, for women it was 68. So on average most men were going to die before they claimed the state pension and women would on average get it for 8 years. So the average payment period was 4 years.

          Fast forward to now and average life expectancies are into the mid 80’s, so if the pension ages were kept the same, then people would on average be be being paid the pension for circa 24 years. i.e 6 times longer…

          Even if women’s state pension age were aligned with mens at 65, that still gives an average payment length currently of circa 20 years, i.e 5 times longer.

          It has to change because the country simply cannot afford it, but you feel that you should receive special treatment over everyone else because you were given short notice that you would have to work 1 extra year, or change your plans a bit.

          That is not “inequality” it is not “unfair” by any reasonable definition. You ladies are no different to a child throwing a tantrum and stamping their feet, because “I was promised”.

          You protest otherwise, but that is the fundamental point.

          I am sympathetic to people with genuine grievances, this however is not such a case.

  11. Sorry, but the name WASPI is a simple, but outright lie.

    WASPI are not complaining about inequality, they are complaining about equality.

    WASPI ladies, all you need to do is work up to 6 years longer, doing a very part time, low stress easy job to replace the pension you would have had.

    So I’m curious, please explain to me what’s “unfair” about how your being treated?

    Also, please explain who is going to pay for your extra pensions? The magic money tree so beloved of Mr Corbyn?

    • Joelle lebrument 21st March 2018 at 5:29 pm

      You are missing the point Duncan.
      The 1995 act did, in my opinion, allow people enough time to adjust their financial future but not the 2011 one.
      I believe all government decisions regarding pensions should legally carry a 15 year projection thus making that last act questionable.
      You are perfectly entitled to your personal views on the subject but it does not change the facts.

      • So what your saying is, that regardless of the countries financial situation, regardless of how much people are taxed, or how dire things are, the government should never be allowed to make a perfectly reasonable adjustment to try and help stop the country from going broke?

        You do realise that the government has circa £1.8trn of debt on the books at the moment? You do realise that when you take into account off the book debt, that number rises to circa £5-6trn?

        Ignoring personal debt, that means that if there are 65m people in the country every single man, woman and child effectively owes at least £77,000?

        So instead of taking the attitude that maybe you need to swallow a small bit of pain and help out a bit, you would rather that your slice of that monumental debt pie was passed to your children and grandchildren?

        You do realise that is no different to maxxing out your credit cards and loans and expecting your children to pay them off?

    • Lesley townsend 21st March 2018 at 5:58 pm

      This will be my last comment regarding this matter and all I can say now is God bless the Tory pension robbers

  12. Lesley townsend 21st March 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Get a job , that’s a joke did you know 30 plus people apply for one job advertised that’s the real world

    • So you cannot continue in your existing job for one more year?

      Or are you “unemployed” in which case you get NI credits for free, along with out of work benefits comparable to the state pension.

      So worst case scenario for you personally you have to work part time for 1 more year, or for 1 more year, you have to keep demonstrating that you are “looking for work”.

      No, instead you stamp your feet and insist that everyone else should subsidise you, because “I was promised”.

  13. Unicorn Pensioner 21st March 2018 at 6:13 pm

    The trouble with the WASPI demand is that is both selfish and illogical.

    Selfish in as much as ( apparently) they alone did not get sufficient notice of the SPA rise. A woman born 31st December 1959 should get her pension at 60. A woman born the next day must wait another 6 years.

    Selfish. They want ( ok weasel words used) but basically pension from 60. This is for all of the cohort. Mrs May for instance. Ludicrous.

    Illogical. Where in any way form or sense are WASPI fighting Inequality?!
    It’s anything but . It is equality and they don’t like this side of that.

    Illogical. They claim to talk on behalf of 3.6 million people and yet they have a paid membership of about 4000. Ludicrous.

    • Indeed, they want equality, other than when it doesn’t work to their advantage. Which actually means they want superiority. Not just over men, but also over any woman born after 1959.

      The level of me, me, me being displayed by these women reminds me of my sons tantrums when he was 2..

  14. Andrew Macintyre 23rd March 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Where would the WASPIs suggest we find the money for their pensions? Cuts for education, the disabled, the NHS or other vulnerable groups? Or perhaps saddle the younger generation, who can barely afford a house like the ones they enjoy, with more debt?

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