Dozens of women from across South Wales who claim their retirements have been blighted by poverty are planning to march on the Senedd wearing shawls and carrying begging bowls.
They are members of Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality), which is fighting UK Government increases to their State Pension Age.
Jocelyn Morgan – a member of the Bridgend and valleys group which will be taking part in the march on Friday, September 16 – said women like her, who expected to get their state pension at 60, found out too late that they would have to wait years longer.
The 63-year-old, from Barnes Avenue in Bridgend, said she was plunged into financial turmoil “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
Women left ‘with a financial shortfall’
And even though she has now received her state pension – three years later than expected – the former ward sister has vowed to continue fighting for other women’s rights.
The group said they know of people who have had to remortgage their houses, spend their savings, or claim jobseekers’ allowance in order to survive.
The problems have arisen since the former Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition government decided to accelerate the rate at which the female state pension age is increased to 65, in line with that for men.
Waspi, a UK-wide group, has long stated that women who were born in the 1950s and are most affected were either not informed or informed too late about the changes meaning they have had little time to prepare.
Jocelyn said women who were banking on receiving their state pension at 60 might not see it for years and have been left with a financial shortfall.
Waspi, which marched to the Houses of Parliament en masse earlier this year, has called on the Government to start making reduced pension payments to those whose state pension age has been increased.
But the UK Government is standing by the changes.
Jocelyn said that at least 70 Waspi women, from as far away as Cardiff and Llanelli and who will be “wearing shawls and carrying begging bowls to highlight our plight”, will rally at the Wales Millennium Centre at 11.30am before marching to the Senedd for noon.
She said they will also be joined by Ogmore MP Chris Elmore, Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, and Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris.
They hope to meet the First Minister and other AMs to highlight their plight and ongoing fight with the UK Government.