On February 1st MPs debated proposed issues surrounding the changes to the state pension age, which will see the retirement age for women rise to 66 by 2020 bringing it in line with the retirement age for men. The dispute is focused on the changes to the speed of transition from age 60 to 66 which will leave many women in financial difficulty at a time of life when they should be secure. One local campaigner explained: “If you have provisioned your finances reliant on a state pension, and then find that as you approach retirement age someone has moved the goal posts and you have to make your money last a few more years – it is going to be a struggle.”

The proposals are set to affect thousands of women born after the year 1951; one campaigner in Dagenham & Rainham said: “Our state pension entitlement will not start until much later than the 60 years we were promised when I started work and I have paid NI contributions since the age of 15.” Another lady in Dagenham who was born in 1955 did not even receive a letter advising about the change in her pension date. Upon contacting the DWP and making an enquiry they confirmed that her pension would now start on her 66th birthday. The DWP explained that transitional arrangements were being made but could not provide details.

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham commented: “The proposed changes to the transition plans that were agreed in the 1995 Pensions Act are socially irresponsible; and have the potential to push ageing, and often vulnerable women into very difficult situations. Without being properly informed of the changes, many will be left struggling to take measures in covering the transition.

“I am in full support of the petition that was raised by WASPI. Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park, which fall in my constituency are part of Havering which currently has the most ageing population in London. I anticipate that across both Barking & Dagenham and Havering there will be many hundreds if not thousands of women affected by these changes.”

Jon has been contacted by many local women raising their concerns on this issue, and he is urging all residents to back the campaign being run by WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality). The changes are set to be introduced in April this year (2016).

You can sign the official petition by clicking HERE

Jon also wants to know what residents think about this issue, especially if you are one of the women that will be effected by the governments’ changes.

You can fill out Jon’s survey by clicking HERE