CAMPAIGNERS for a movement tackling state pension inequality came out in force to show support for a motion being discussed at Hampshire County Council in Winchester today.

The motion, if passed, would see the council send a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions urging a solution to problems caused by the 1995 State Pension Act, which saw the state pension age for women raised from 60 to 65.

The letter would also call for fair compensation to be paid to the surviving spouses and families of affected beneficiaries.

The motion was put forwards by Cllr Malcolm Wade and is being seconded by Cllr Jonathan Glen. The motion is being discussed in a county council meeting on Thursday, February 23.

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Members of campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality's (WASPI) Solent Branch travelled to the Hampshire County Council chambers to show their support for the motion.

Co-ordinator of the Solent WASPI supporters’ group Shelagh Simmons told the Chronicle: “We’re campaigning for compensation for the maladministration committed by the Department for Work and Pensions in raising our state pension age without properly informing us.

“Maladministration has already been found by the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman and they're dragging their feet in doing anything about it. So the objective of this is to get councillors, to get cross-party support because it’s a cross-party campaign, to get them to put pressure on the government on our behalf.”

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She continued: “We’ve been campaigning for seven years now without any resolution in sight, and we think the government has a moral obligation to us because we’ve worked all our lives, we’ve paid all our taxes, national insurance. We give care to elderly relatives and grandchildren for free, saving the country a lot of money, so we think there is a moral obligation.

“We’re not asking for the state pension age to go back to 60, but we do want compensation for the fact that this was sprung on us, up to six years extra to wait, without having time to prepare financially.”

Cllr Wade said that he hopes the motion will receive cross-party support, saying: “It’s not fair what they did to those poor women, telling perhaps some of them a year before they were due to retire, that they wouldn’t get a pension.”