Last week I joined with colleagues from across the House to offer my support to the Women Against State Pension Increase Age (WASPI) campaign and participated in an Opposition Day debate calling for the Government to address the unfair changes.
In my remarks I thanked the women of the WASPI campaign for their tireless efforts in persisting in bringing this issue to the Government’s attention and raised the concerns of women affected in Burnley, I said the following:
“I want to speak for the women in my constituency of Burnley, and for the thousands of women who will be affected. There has been much talk about the financial impact of the change and what the cost will be, but let us not forget that these women are taxpayers who have worked hard and paid in. They are asking not for a benefit, but for a right to which they are entitled.
I want to talk about the impact on people. I have talked to women in my constituency who are physically struggling every day to cope with their physical jobs. One lady I spoke to during my surgery at the weekend was in tears as she told me about her many years of working in an engineering foundry. She is staggering on towards her retirement age. She is in bed at 7.30 every night, having been barely able to make it to the bus station to get the bus home. She has spent long years working on the minimum wage, and the only light at the end of the tunnel was retirement at the age of 60. She thought that she might just be able to stagger on until then. However, not only have the goalposts been moved, but there just has not been any communication with her. Let us not get into the blame game of arguing about whose fault it was or was not that she did not know, but the fact is that she did not know.
There has been a lot of talk about what happened in 2011 and in 1995. I was not a Member of Parliament then. I would say that we are where we are. Let us tackle the problem we have in front of us now. Hon. Members on both sides of the House have made sensible suggestions about sitting down together with the WASPI women, around the table, on a cross-party basis and without scoring political points, to work out a solution to this terrible mess.”
You can see my contribution and remarks in the debate on Parliament TV at (please copy and paste the link): http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/cfb6f90e-444e-4cd6-bfaf 0e1cdfb0e294?in=16:07:04&out=16:09:00