Pension campaign gathers pace as new group forms

Wigan women protesting about the way state pension changes have been handled have formed their own group to spread the message in the town.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 2:18 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 8:50 pm
The new Waspi group

The newly-founded Wigan and Makerfield Waspi Group hopes to get as many residents who have been hit by the raising of the state pension age involved in campaigning.

Previously the Local Pensions Group (LPG) has been covering the whole borough but women from Wigan and Makerfield have now decided to start their own organisation to raise the profile of the problems in Wigan and Ashton.

The borough groups, part of the national Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), say people were not given enough time by the Government to prepare for changing retirement ages and are calling for fair transitional arrangements.

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They also spoke of some of the severe difficulties Waspi members have got into after finding they would not receive their pensions as early as they thought.

Jan Fulster, who is running the Wigan and Makerfield group, said: “We were struggling to cover the whole borough and felt we were going to be better placed like this to concentrate on Wigan and Makerfield.

“We’ve got ourselves set up to devote our attention to this part of the borough and serve it better.

“We need to get the word out. There are still people who don’t know that retirement age has been moved by six years.

“When I look around and see ladies who’ve had to sell homes, who are no longer fit and able to do the work they did before, who are having to chase Jobseekers’ Allowance, it is just heartbreaking. We have nurses having to use foodbanks.

“It’s something that needs tackling and not only for my generation. My concern is that in the future people are not going to be able to do their jobs into their late 60s and 70s, which is what the government is wanting to happen.”

The new group is hoping to build on the strong links already established in the town, with Wigan Council, elected representatives and MPs all previously giving support.

Ms Fulster also hopes the Wigan and Makerfield group will enable more women who could not travel to the LPG meetings in Leigh to join in the protest movement.

One of its first events will be running a stall outside the Grand Arcade on Friday May 26, the Waspi national day of local action.

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