Campaign to get free transport for women hit by state pension age changes

Campaign to get free transport for women hit by state pension age changes

A campaign has been launched to ensure women hit by increases to the state pension age get free travel on buses and other public transport

MPs have written to West Midlands mayor Andy Street demanding that the so-called WASPI women get free access to public transport.

It would affect an estimated 30,000 women in Birmingham alone.

MPs say free travel wouldn’t make up for the delay in receiving their pensions, but it would provide some help. A similar scheme is already being introduced in Greater Manchester.

A letter to Mr Street signed by nine Labour MPs said: “Our city has a duty to ensure, whether in work or retired, that we support the women affected by the state pension age changes with free transport.”

Many women born in the 1950s have been hit by laws which equalised the pension age for men and women, ending the old system in which women returned at 60 and men at 65. It meant everyone now receives their pension at the age of 65, and this will rise to 66 by 2020.

But critics say many women born in the 1950s were not made aware of the changes in time to plan ahead, and now face years of retirement without their pension.

Campaigners calling themselves Women Against State Pension Inequality, or WASPI for short, have urged the Government to think again

The letter has been signed by MPs Jack Dromey (Lab Erdington); Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak); Roger Godsiff (Lab Hall Green); Preet Gill (Lab Edgbaston); Shabana Mahmood (Lab Ladywood); Khalid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr); Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill); Jess Phillips (Lab Yardley), and Richard Burden (Lab Northfield).

They said: “We believe that bringing forward the age at which women affected by the pension age changes could claim their free transport pass would go some way to addressing their grievances and reduce the burden that they are currently saddled with through no fault of their own.

“Under the powers invested in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) this proposal could be introduced for women in the West Midlands.

“From conversations with colleagues we are aware that plans for a similar scheme are already underway in Manchester, due to efforts by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.”

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