A breakdown of figures show that Liverpool women who were denied their state pensions after a rule change have lost out on tens of millions of pounds.
It has been estimated that the affected women who live in Liverpool lose out on £24.4 million per year.
And in more granular details that have been worked out for the Liverpool Walton constituency, the affected women lose out on £5.4 million per year.
When averaged out between each affected woman, it has emerged that they have lost out on more than £50,000 each.
According to the latest Office of National Statistics population estimates, there are 2,848 women in the Liverpool local authority as a whole aged 60 who have to wait six years until reaching state pension age at 66.
And in the Walton constituency there are 608 women aged 60 who have to wait six years until reaching state pension age at 66.
These estimates relate to mid-2019, but are a reasonable guide to the number of 60-year-olds in these areas at the present time.
As of May 2020, the latest cohort of women attaining state pension – that is those who are aged 65 years and 9-11 months – had an average weekly state pension payment of £164.56 in Liverpool as a whole, and £169.84 in Liverpool Walton. The state pension age has since risen to 66, as of October 6 2020.
It is not known what today’s 60-year-old women could get if the qualifying age for state pension were reduced to 60 today, but these amounts are indicative – meaning it is assumed that no shortfall in National Insurance qualifying years result from being six years younger than the actual state pension age – and so the aggregate amounts payable to the whole cohort would be:
· In Liverpool: £469,000 per week or £24.4 million per year on an annualised basis (in 2020/21 terms);
· In Liverpool Walton: £103,000 per week or £5.4 million per year on an annualised basis (in 2020/21 terms).
In total over six years, this equates to around £53,000 for Liverpool Walton and £51,000 for Liverpool local authority that the affected women have missed out on – both amounts are expressed in 2020/21 state pension terms.
These figures are rough estimates and they reflect gross state pension entitlement only and take no account of any offsetting reduction of working-age benefit entitlements, potential additional entitlements to pensioner benefits, or secondary impacts on income tax or National Insurance revenues.
Nevertheless, they give rough figures on how much women have lost out on since the changes to the rules were made.
Today, campaigners and a Liverpool MP spoke of their anger about the injustice.
And they make clear that women right across the country were never given much time to take into account how the changes to the rules would impact their lives.
Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden said: “The treatment of 1950s-born women continues to be a huge injustice.
“Many of these women have had to take up low paid jobs to make ends meet.
“Women in their sixties who are already high-risk are being forced to put their health on the line during the pandemic.”
Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) was founded in 2015 and it campaigns against the way in which the state pension age for men and women was equalised.
The WASPI group hold meetings at Dan Carden’s constituency office and they call for the millions of women affected by the changes to receive compensation.
Merseyside pensioner Teresa Stoddart, now 66, is a member of WASPI, and she spoke of her disappointment about losing out on her state pension which she had contributed to for decades.
Mrs Stoddart, a former civil servant, said: “The increase in State Pension Age for women from 60 to 65 was brought in by the 1995 Pension Act and accelerated to age 66 by the 2011 Pension Act.
“However no notification of the change was sent out to 3.8 million 1950s-born women adversely affected by the change.
“The first letters were not received until 2010 and tens of thousands of 1950s-born women have stated that they have never received any notification and only found out by talking to other women an by the WASPI campaign.
“The 1950s women were robbed of their State Pension and the opportunity to make informed financial decisions as they were unaware of the changes until it was too late and which subsequently have had such a detrimental effect on their lives, finances and plans for retirement.
“WASPI has never been against the equalisation of the State Pension age with men, but the unfair way in which the changes were implemented which adversely affected the women born in the 1950s.”
Mrs Stoddart mentioned that some women were forced to “continue working into their sixties, because they were denied their state pension”. At the same time, some of the affected women lost their mortgages as care commitments sprung on them and they were unable to continue to work.
Mrs Stoddart also mentioned that some women died in their early sixties as campaigners tried to force a government re-think and they never even reached the age of 66 to receive a state pension.
In June 2019, Liverpool WASPI women campaigned in the city centre in support of back to 60 judicial review took place in the High Court into how the government raised the retirement age for women. But they lost the review.
And in September, two women affected by the state pension age being changed from 60 to 66 for women lost their appeal against a High Court ruling and senior judges unanimously dismissed the women’s appeal.
Judges told the women – who were backed by another pressure group called ‘Back to 60’ – that introducing the same state pension age for men and women did not amount to unlawful discrimination.
Mrs Stoddart is still campaigning for justice for the women who lost out on their delayed state pensions and hundreds of cases are still with the Parliamentary ombudsman.
The cases are still being looked at, and a ruling has not been made on them yet.
WASPI member Val Beach, who works as a case worker in Mr Carden’s office, said: “I think the women should be compensated in full. Some women have not got pension pots behind them and they have to work into their seventies. Some have even sold their homes because of what’s happened with their state pensions.
“For those six years that they lost their money, they will never make that money up. I feel aggrieved that we have been cheated. It is one of the biggest injustices this century.
“The impact on every woman who has lost out has affected families and households everywhere. And that even has an impact on the high street and shops see decreases in their revenues. What’s happened just shows it’s a race to the bottom.”
-- to www.liverpoolecho.co.uk