WOMEN in Rochdale hit by an increase in the state pension age have branded the policy short sighted and grossly unfair during a meeting with MP Simon Danczuk.
Pension changes pushed through in 2011 by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government mean that some women born in the 1950s will have to work 18 months longer than planned.
The Government has ignored calls by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign to reverse the decision or introduce measures to ease the transition.
This is despite the fact that poor communication has meant that many women only learned of the increase at very short notice and had little time to make alternative arrangements.
Mr Danczuk organised the roundtable debate to learn more about how the changes will impact on the lives of women in Rochdale.
The meeting was attended by members of the public as well as local councillors Kathleen Nickson, Janet Emsley and Cecile Biant.
Constituents raised a number of key issues including the health risks of working longer, the difference in life expectancy between wealthy and deprived areas and the knock-on effect for families who rely on grandmothers for free childcare.
Mr Danczuk confirmed he will continue to raise the issue in Parliament and pressure Government Ministers on the matter. He also agreed to arrange a larger WASPI meeting later in the year.
The MP said: “The Government might think this campaign is going to go away, but I can assure them that women in Rochdale are more determined than ever to oppose this unjust increase in the state pension age.
“In one short meeting I heard dozens of reasons why this policy is unfair, impractical and economically unsound. It was a real eye opener.
“If only the Tories and Lib Dems had taken the time to sit down and talk with working women before rushing through these changes in 2011, then maybe this whole mess could have been avoided.
“The WASPI campaign has my full backing as well as the support of many local councillors.
“I want to reassure women in Rochdale nearing retirement age that they are not alone in this fight and urge as many as possible to get involved by attending their next meeting.”