Lincolnshire

Pension protestors push for council action

Campaigners have returned to Lincolnshire County Council today in a bid to push the council into action over pension changes which have affected women born in the 1950s.

Members of the Lincolnshire Lionesses turned out outside the authority’s headquarters in Lincoln prior to a full council meeting where they chanted “We pay in, you pay out.”

It follows the authority’s decision to turn down a motion calling on the council to lobby the Government to take action.

Campaigners in the public gallery

After the Pensions Act of 1995, the state pension age for women was increased to 65 in order to be equal with men.

The government said at the time that the transition should be in place by 2020.

But a further law was passed in 2011 to speed up the changes.

A further concession by Government then said no changes would take place until 18 months after the introduction of the change.

Campaigners said the changes mean that for some women born in the 1950s, a lack of notice left them out of pocket and without alternative arrangements when it came to drawing their pension. 

Lincolnshire County Council’s full council meeting.

Bett Johnson, from the Lionesses said: “It has been done unfairly, it’s an injustice and it needs to be sorted.

“We are strong, we are adamant we’re not going to let this go. We will fight and will come back every time if need to to get this motion passed.

“I was informed 11 months before my 60th birthday. I had no time to plan, no time to join a private pension.

“I’ve been working since the age of 15 and every time I’ve worked I’ve paid a bigger contribution to the pension pot than men because I knew I would be retiring at 60.”

A question from Louth South ward Labour councillor asked council leader Martin Hill to apologise for alleged misunderstandings in the previous debate and to meet with the campaigners to discuss the issue further.

However, Mr Hill said he had not misunderstood any of the points and that he would not apologise – but he did accept the offer of a meeting.

Campaigners left the meeting shouting “shame on you” from the public gallery before being told off by chairman Martin Trollope-Bellew.

After the meeting, Mr Hll said: “There was no misunderstanding. This was a Government proposal not a council proposal we need to remember that.

“In the previous council there was a request that we wrote to the Government saying ‘will you accede to the WASPI people’ we had a long debate about that and although we sympathised with the changes in 2011 we did not think we could ask the Government for money to do that whilst asking them for money for social care and potholes.”

He said his own wife was one of those affected by the changes.

East Lindsey District Council last week supported the campaign.

The campaign group, Women Against Pension Inequality, was set up in 2015 to lobby the government on the issue.

Around 147 local authorities have passed motions asking for the government to take action on the issue.