I read your letters page with a heavy heart because I have read similar articles many times over the last few years. Governments seem intent on ignoring the pleas of 1950s women for a fair transitional arrangement.

I was born in March 1953, and received a letter in 2012 telling me how lucky I was, since my pension age would not be changing more than once. This was roughly 12 months before I would have received my pension, under the terms present before the 1995 Pensions Act and was four years before I actually received my pension.

My sisters, born 1955 and 1958, say they did not receive a letter at that time. It appears to me the government chose to send “good news” letters to women, but ignored the “bad news” missives. But there was a twist in the “good news” – as we would receive the old style pension, which is less than the new style one.

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It seems to me 1950s women have been used as a cash cow, indeed a previous chancellor said changing the pension age for women was the easiest way of saving money.

Surely it would been easier to increase the pension age of men and women who were starting their working life instead. They have the whole of their working life to make pension arrangements, unlike the women now suffering the effects of two pension acts in the middle of their working lives.

Many women will have 50-plus years NI contributions, a feat which will only be surpassed by a few people in future, unless the government increases the state pension age again. The state pension was instigated to avoid people dying as paupers. Sadly, little progress has been made since then.

Maralyn Donnelly
Address supplied

I was unlucky enough to be born in 1957 – past and present governments have made the 1950s an unlucky decade to be born in if you are a woman.

I started work at 15 and am still working at 61 because I have been systematically robbed of six years’ pension, amounting to more than £45,000. This happened with no official notice of the rise in pension age.

I have never claimed any form of benefit, but probably would have done better if I had. I feel let down, and our plans for retirement are now severely depleted. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever actually get to pension age, and it’s a dreadful situation to be wishing away my final years just so I can retire a lot later than planned.

We had no chance to make alternative arrangements as there wasn’t sufficient time, plus most women were busy raising children as well as working. When I started work there wasn’t even equal pay, and no chance of paying enough into a private pension scheme to cover the loss of a state pension.

Jane Bacon

I was born on the 1 June 1957, and at the age of 16 I received my national insurance card and started to pay tax.

If, at that time, I was told that at reaching the age of 60 there would be no pension, I could have made different life choices.

I have worked since the age of 16 – got married and worked – had two children and worked while paying for them to have private childcare – looked after both parents over the years, who worked.

After the death of my mother I looked after my brother – who was mentally and physically disabled – in my own home, saving the state thousands of pounds as his carer, giving up my job and claiming carers’ allowance to keep up my “stamp”, losing a very good income.

I am now 61 years of age and will have to wait until I am 66 to claim my pension, unless they decide to move the goalposts again. I have 41 years’ fully paid contributions and will lose £49,500. I am now in poor health and dependent on my 64-year-old husband, who is a carpenter and joiner.

On my 60th birthday, I helped Esther McVey canvass in Alderley Edge for George Osborne’s Tatton constituency. Don’t I now feel an idiot, as she is the secretary of state for work and pensions?

This pension is not a benefit. I have worked and contributed for more than 40 years – I want to know where my money is.

Mary Maczkowiak​
Address supplied

I too am a women born in August 1955, and have had my pension age increased twice, it now being due on 11 August 2021 – my 66th birthday. I have paid my NI contributions from the age of 15 without a break, I have been in full time employment or self-employment since then and I have had no benefits from the government – nothing.

I feel very cheated and very upset and annoyed that I have had my well-earned pension stolen from me. Our generation of women worked hard and obeyed the rules and we have been betrayed – no wonder we are upset.

How does the government expect us to work until we are 66 when all our lives we have planned to finish at 60? Please do not forget, our pension is not a benefit, it is our right.

Also, not only are we being expected to work another six years, we have to pay NI as well. Therefore we are paying even more money into the system and getting nothing back.

I can’t imagine we are going to be compensated for this, but any politician with a conscience should be fighting for all these women.

We will be owed £40,000 of our own money.

Jennifer Stansfield, aged 63
Address supplied

I also feel it is grossly unfair and unacceptable for this generation of women to be hit so hard, working an additional seven years, in total.

I started my working life at age 16. I have worked for 44 years and contributed. During the early years, the retirement age for a female was 60 years. I now have to work until the age of 67 – provided of course they do not move the goalposts within the next seven years.

I have never received any correspondence to advise me of this change to age 67. I only found out two years ago, when my sister from the same generation advised me, and the new legislation came in whereby pension providers are to inform/provide details of individuals’ actual retirement age on their annual pension statements.

We have not been given enough notice to make up the shortfall in our personal pension, which will inevitably leave us poverty stricken or unable to retire.

I feel this age group of women has been discriminated against, after contributing for longer, working for longer and receiving the least benefit of any generation. I feel a more phased adjustment, with fewer years added on would be fairer – to-date, generations born prior to the 1950s have not had seven years added overnight.

Maybe the government should have thought about the pension crisis before it made the decision to extend education to 18 years of age and offered more apprenticeships and job opportunities to the younger generation, which also seems to draw the short straw.

Dianne Rothery
Address supplied

I’ve rethought how I feel about the state pension age increase for women

What a great letter from Rosina Pain-Tolin in today’s paper. I don’t know if I am typical of retired men of my generation, but I had partially dismissed the complaints from women younger than me by thinking “tough luck”.

It was a real eye opener to see the timeline of the legislation set out in the letter and I couldn’t help but empathise with the emotions engendered by what appears to be a bureaucratic catalogue of blunders. No wonder the woman is cross!

I can feel only ashamed at my former ignorance.

Paul Warren

What defences do we have against climate change?

The devastating monsoons and flooding in the US and Asia offer a vivid illustration of the power of mother nature, and the immense injustices wrought by climate change on vulnerable communities, women, children, the infirm and the elderly, who are harshly hammered by its impacts. Climate change poses a menace to our environment and dignity; to our inalienable human rights to safe shelter, clean water, transportation, education, fresh air, social justice, safe neighbourhoods, food security and sustainable development.

As the impacts of climate change are broached around the world, and laid bare on our doorsteps, isn’t it time to ask whether the WHO, UNHCR and other ministries of health can mitigate these disasters? Their roles seem negligible to me. We had better rely on our own resilience mechanisms.

Munjed Farid al Qutob
London NW2

Another referendum would only create more division

In response to David Lowndes’ letter yesterday, I am very aware of the divisions which exist in our society with regards to Brexit – which, by the way, is not helped by some Remainers failing to accept the result of the 2016 referendum. However, a second referendum is highly unlikely to heal those divisions. Rather, I fear we would be adding fuel to the fire, as many who voted Leave in 2016 would think the politicians at Westminster viewed their votes as irrelevant.

Furthermore, the argument that a second referendum enhances our democracy is redundant. Using this logic, we should have a third, and maybe a fourth referendum too, just to make sure the people are completely happy with the course of action we are taking.

Of course this would be ridiculous. It is wrong to hold a referendum on the same issue so soon after the first, and when public opinion has only changed by a few percentage points at most. If referenda were held every time public opinion changed ever so slightly we’d be having them almost every week!

Nobody is saying this issue cannot ever be looked at again, but we should at least leave the EU first and try to make a success of Brexit. To not do so would be a huge insult to the 17.4 million people that voted for it. Besides, the 2017 election could be classed as a second referendum, and Leave certainly won that, with the vast majority of people voting for parties which supported our exit from the EU.

Lewis Chinchen


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