WASPI Women: Jacob Rees-Mogg says changes were ‘fair’
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Waspi women like Cath Williams who lost up to six years of their State Pension without proper warning are renewing their fight to win compensation. More than 20 landmarks across the UK will be illuminated in purple at dusk tonight to highlight their plight, including the town hall in Cath’s home town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Cath, 67, said the battle to seek redress for almost four million women born in the 1950s who lost up to £50,000 of income when their State Pension age was increased to bring it into line with men is one of basic fairness.
“I’m from a working-class northern family. My dad was a teacher and my mother a shop assistant. I was brought up to stick to the rules, which is why I feel so angry that I’ve been cheated out of my State Pension.”
Cath started her nursing career aged 16 in 1975 and worked full time with just a couple of short breaks to have two children.
After almost 40 years of dedicated service, she fell seriously ill.
Cath Williams had to work on for a decade despite illness (Image: Waspi 2018)
Cath contracted bacterial meningitis aged 55, but returned part time after a year. “My salary more than halved but my husband had a decent pension and I believed it was only four more years until I got my State Pension at 60.”
She said she was never told she would have to wait until 66 to claim it, and was stunned when she found out.
“By 62 I was totally burned out and had no choice but to retire on a meagre works pension, despite being worried sick about our finances.”
When Cath finally got her State Pension at 66 it was at a reduced rate because of a rule change about contributions. “I hadn’t been told about it, despite repeatedly asking, so that was a double whammy.”
Starting out: Cath Williams, 18, centre, has committed her life to helping others (Image: Waspi 2018)
Cath said this is a poor return after 46 years working for the NHS. “I’ve been honest and trustworthy, I’ve never even had a parking ticket, but feel let down by a system I thought I could rely on after my working life was over.”
More than 20 local councils throughout the UK will light up town halls and statues in purple this evening, to show their support as Parliament resumes today.
Landmark buildings such as Birmingham Central Library, the Sir John Barrow Monument in Ulverston and Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
Blackpool Tower will also light up.
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Cath Williams taking a well-earned break in her 40s (Image: Waspi 2018)
Barrow Borough Council in Cumbria, Carmarthenshire in Wales and Renfrewshire in Scotland are among the councils across England, Scotland and Wales lighting up in support of local Waspi women.
Barrow Council leader Ann Thomson said it is keen to support the campaign. “As a Waspi woman myself I hope we all get the right outcome.”
Pat Molyneux, joint co-ordinator Barrow-in-Furness & District Waspi, said achieving support from Barrow Borough Council will help raise awareness of the plight of women born in the 1950s.
“Our hope is that MPs can find a fair and fast solution to the injustice imposed on a generation of women through the changes in State Pension age by successive governments,” she said.