I was delighted on Wednesday this week to join people from across the country at a demonstration outside the Palace of Westminster in support of women hit by pension changes.
Because of the acceleration of the equalisation of the State Pension Age, a change which began in 1995 and was compounded in 2011, millions of women across the country are going to be worse off. To make matters worse, many of them were not even told by the government of these changes.
According to the independent House of Commons Library, more than 4600 women in Heywood and Middleton are directly affected. Almost 200,000 people have added their names to an online petition asking for transition arrangements to be introduced, including hundreds of women in Heywood and Middleton.
The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign works to lobby the Government to introduce transitional arrangements for those women affected, many of whom were not notified about the changes, and took early retirement, leaving them without any income. I and many of my colleagues in parliament want to get the best outcome for these women, many of whom have worked hard for decades without taking a penny out of the system. I was therefore proud to join them at their demonstration in Westminster.
I have spoken in parliament on this very important issue before and I have written about it here. I have huge admiration for the many ordinary women who have shown extraordinary resilience in fighting for fair and equal treatment.
I hope we will soon have the outcome that the WASPI women deserve.