CAMPAIGNERS fighting pensions injustice caused a “human traffic jam” at Westminster today as thousands urged the government to ensure women do not lose out.
The WASPI campaign is pressing the Government to bring in “fair” transitional arrangements over changes to the state pension age.
They claim a lack of notice about the move, which will raise the retirement age for women in line with that of men, has denied those affected the chance to prepare and some are said to be facing a near-£50,000 loss.
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Scots were among the crowds outside the House of Commons in a mass protest called to mark both the Budget and International Women’s Day.
Delegations travelled down from all over Scotland representing local groups from Moray, Glasgow and Lanarkshire, Dundee and the Highlands. Others carried banners for their teams from Caithness and Dumfries and Galloway.
Many participants had dyed their hair purple for the day, or wore purple hats in line with the campaign’s signature colour.
They were joined by throngs of opposition MPS, including Paisley and Renfrewshire South’s Mhairi Black, a vocal supporter of the campaign.
Black was among several speakers at the event, which also heard from Alex Salmond, Labour’s Andy Burnham and Tory MP Tim Loughton.
It is thought that the change will affect as many as 2.5 million women across the UK, all of whom were born in the 1950s.
Plans to raise retirement age for women from 60 to 65 were initially raised in 1995, but were accelerated six years ago and critics say depriving those affected from the chance to amend their private provision could cost some as much as £48,000.
Chanting “we paid in, you pay out” and blowing whistles, the protestors spent hours outside the Commons and also held a session with a panel of MPs, including Ian Blackford of Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
The Government says the change will improve equality and, rejecting a 13,000-strong petition in favour of WASPI, a spokesperson said it would not change its position.
A statement said: “No further changes can be justified given the underlying imperative must be to focus public resources on those most in need.”
WASPI said yesterday’s event had been so busy it caused a “human traffic jam” outside the parliament.
Discussing the campaign’s objectives, a spokesperson said it is not fighting the change, but the “unfair and discriminatory way” it has been carried through.