A motion was put before Hartlepool Borough Council calling for them to write to the government asking them to compensate women affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts and give notice of any further changes.
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) was set up as a result the introduction of The Pensions Act 1995, which increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 in order to equalise it with that of men.
The change was initially supposed to be phased in over 10 years from 2010 for women born between 1950 and 1955, but was accelerated by The Pensions Act 2011.
The qualifying age for both men and women will be raised to 66 by October 2020.
The council motion, which was unanimously approved, states they will write to other Tees Valley authorities and request they consider the joint commissioning of free bus passes to those affected by the pension changes.
Coun Brenda Loynes, one of those who signed the motion to council, said a bus pass would be ‘essential’ for women affected.
Coun Lesley Hamilton fully endorsed the motion and praised the ‘trailblazing’ Hartlepool WASPI women Barbara Crossman and Lynne Taylor who continue to be a voice for those in the town whose pensions were ‘cruelly taken away’.
She said: “Certainly in terms of bus passes they are a vital service for women.
“Bus passes are quite expensive and for those women and men who are being affected because of pension changes, getting out and about is extremely difficult and can impact on isolation and the issues that go with that.”
Council leader Coun Shane Moore also pledged his support behind the motion and noted it is difficult to arrange the bus passes for Hartlepool, as it is commissioned on a Tees Valley wide basis, and not ran through the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
He said: “Unless we as an authority take that first step and say that we are going to support these ladies, and I know that there is an awful lot of support out there.
“Unless we take that first step and write to those other authorities, it’s a very real possibility that they don’t even know this is a problem.”
Coun Brenda Harrison also backed the cause, stating the women are not asking for anything they would not have previously received when they turned 60.
She said: “It’s not giving them anything that they wouldn’t have got before this debacle and the whole appalling situation they’ve found themselves in.
“If the other authorities don’t know about this problem then they should and I hope that Tees Valley wide we do educate them and make sure they get what they are entitled to.”
Durham County Council has already taken steps to bring back bus passes for WASPI women and expressed an interest in working with neighbouring councils to extend the scheme to the rest of the North East.