Women from all over the country joined together in a demonstration in Glasgow last Saturday to protest changes to the qualifying age for the state pension, which had been altered with little or no warning.
The march was in aid of the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice) campaign, and groups from across Scotland united to take part. An estimated 200 people marched and were joined by a number of high profile figures, including the First Minister and Justice Secretary, taking the demonstration from Festival Park, near Pacific Quay, to the Mary Barbour Statue at Govan Cross.
Founder of the Glasgow and Lanarkshire WASPI Campaign group, Anne Potter, commented:
“This is an issue affecting 35,000 women across Scotland and 3.8 million in the UK as a whole. We have been campaigning since 2015 locally, lobbying and helping women send in their complaints to the DWP and this will be our 4th demonstration in Glasgow.”
The pension changes were first introduced under the 1995 Pensions Act in a national bid to bring women’s state pension age in line with the men’s. Initially, this would have seen women working five years longer, to the age of 65, before being entitled to a basic state pension.
However, the coalition government of 2010 accelerated the original timetable, arguing that the state pension was becoming increasingly unaffordable. As a result, women born in the 1950s have had their state pension qualifying age increased up to six years and could face financial losses of up to £48,000. More than 72,000 women in the Glasgow area alone born in the 1950s are affected by these changes.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described the action on pensions taken as a ‘downright robbery’:
“Tens of thousands of women across Scotland, hundreds of thousands of women across the UK, are losing tens of thousands of pounds. If that is not an injustice, if that is not theft, if that is not robbery, then I don’t know what it.”