Lancaster and South Lakes WASPI women take fight to BBC

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Four women from the Lancaster area joined others from across the country at a rally in Manchester to protest against changes to the State Pension Age.

Known as WASPI (Women Against State Pension Increase), the women travelled to Manchester to petition the BBC to give more coverage to their plight.

Christina Barrett, 64, from Hest Bank, is one of millions of women born in the 1950s who are having to wait years longer for their state pensions.

Christina feels the government’s Pensions Act 1995 was not implemented properly, and has caused great hardship for those who have paid tax and National Insurance for decades, only to be told they’ll have to work longer.

Christina gave an account of the protest, which took place at the weekend.

She said: “As the train neared Manchester more and more WASPI ladies boarded and the atmosphere started to have a real buzz.

“The trams were disrupted and replacement buses were in place.

“Our bus to Media City was just full of WASPIs and other 1950s women and men protesters. We were in for a good rally.

“The reason Media City was chosen for the venue was because the BBC have kept silent over this issue.

“We heard speeches from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester who pledged his support for the WASPI women, telling them to keep on fighting.

“Then the crowd listened in complete silence to a beautiful poem about a strong elderly women written and read by Meshach. R. Brencher.

“This was followed by speeches from representatives from Unison and others attending including Pat Ormston and Kate Green MP, Jo Platt MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP and Councillors Stuart Dickman and Sharmina August.

“The protesters turned towards the BBC chanting and holding up posters of broken hearts and Pension Robbery banners.

“Rally attendees had brought hundreds of letters with them from members unable to attend, asking the BBC to give more coverage to the campaign.

“Then we had a minute silence in memory of all the ladies who have died before reaching the new State Pension Age.”

Lancaster and South Lakes WASPI Group in conjunction with Barrow in Furness and District and Chorley WASPI groups are holding a State Pension Age Awareness day in Carlisle on September 21.

To join the Group email waspilancasterandslakes@hotmail.com.