WOMEN pensions campaigners in Ceredigion have added their voices to a national call on the Chancellor to create up to 1.5 million jobs throughout the UK by allowing 1950s women to claim their state pension and pension credit early.

“In Wales some 40,000 women aged 60-64, and over 23,000 women over 65, are working”, said Pamela Judge, co-ordinator of Ceredigion Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI).

“In the UK as a whole, around one million women aged 60-64, and over half a million women over 65, are in work. We make up over 10 per cent of the workforce.

“Women in their 60s are advised by the Government to minimise contact with other people because of Covid-19. But many over-60s women are working in public-facing roles such as social care, the NHS or retail. They are frightened to go to work but cannot afford not to because they have no other source of income.

“Our national chair has written to the Chancellor, the Shadow Chancellor, the Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary and the opposition group leaders to point this out.”

“The way in which the Pension Acts of 1995 and 2011 were introduced has caused incalculable distress and hardship for women born in the 1950s,” added Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion.

“The UK Government should urgently develop measures to support these women, especially as they are more likely to suffer from health problems that will limit their ability to work up to and beyond 65.

“As such, giving 1950s women the option of accessing their state pension and pension credit would be the fairest solution.”

Sixty-four-year-old Denise Lavis, from Llanarth, has worked full-time since she was 17, apart from a year off when her son was born.

“I was bitterly disappointed when the state pension age increased to 65 and absolutely stunned when an extra year was added on to the time I have to wait for my state pension,” said Denise.

“I have several health issues and would be so relieved if I could have my pension that I have paid into for decades. My retirement would open up a job opportunity in the public sector for a young person during this terrible pandemic when so many jobs are being lost.”