Wyre Council to press Government over women's pensions

Wyre Council is to write to the Government over the women's pensions issue
Wyre Council is to write to the Government over the women's pensions issue

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to be sent a letter from Wyre Council asking him to help women hit hard by controversial changes to the pension age.

It comes after a notice of motion, instigated by Wyre Labour councillors, was unanimously passed at full council, calling on the Government to mitigate the impact of the changes to women’s state pensions .

Coun Holly Swales

Coun Holly Swales

But the issue was not straightforward on the night, with Labour frustrated at an amendment to some of the wording of the motion, made by the ruling Conservatives.

And Council leader, Coun David Henderson, says the motion which was passed was in fact a Conservative one, using the amended wording which he says was needed to make it more effective.

Councillors agree that it is an issue which affects more women in Wyre than many other areas, as the borough has a large percentage of women at retirement age.

The core of the issue is that Women born in the early 1950s have seen gradual increases in their pension age from 60 to 66, depending on exactly when they were born.

Coun David Henderson

Coun David Henderson

The changes will level the retirement age for men and women at 66 by October 2020.

However, some women were given only between one and five years’ notice of the changes, which were sped up in 2011.

Campaigners, including the Women Against State Pension Inequity (WASPI) group, argue that this has left women insufficient time to make alternative arrangements.

Thornton Labour member, Coun Holly Swales, who proposed the original motion, said: “The way these changes to women’s pensionable age have been carried out has had a huge, detrimental affect on millions of women all over the country, and it is a particularly big issue here in Wyre.

Coun Rob Fail

Coun Rob Fail

“I am very pleased this motion has been passed, but not with the way in which it happened.”

And Wyre Labour leader, Coun Rob Fail said: “We are delighted that our motion was passed; it was however disappointing that the Tory Councillors chose to ungraciously and unnecessarily amend the wording of the motion.

“The Labour Group will continue to support the WASPI cause.”

Coun Henderson hit back: “Contrary to Councillor Fail’s claim, it was not the Labour group’s notice of motion that was passed at full council but the amended motion put forward by the Conservative group.

“The basis of the motion was similar, calling on the Government to mitigate the impact of the changes to women’s state pensions, but with the wording of the amended motion being more acceptable, the notice of motion was passed unanimously.”

The original Labour motion was seconded by Coun Lorraine Beavers, of Fleetwood.

Around four million UK women have been affected by the changes, which were unsuccessfully challenged in the High Court late last year.