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Helen Mary Jones MS redoubles efforts in fight for women’s pensions

PLAID Cymru Mid and West MS Helen Mary Jones has redoubled her efforts to fight for the pensions for 1950s born women.

During Counsel General questions in the Senedd she questioned the Welsh Government about the next steps that could be taken to support the women born in the 1950s denied their pensions.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister Helen Mary Jones Mid and West MS said:

“I asked the Welsh Government about discussions they have had following the loss of the appeal against the High Court ruling by women born in the 1950s affected by the state pension age being changed from 60 to 66.

“The changes to the State Pension Age impact on 3900 women in the Llanelli constituency, according to figures from the House of Commons Library.

“I have been working very closely with campaigners across my region, particularly in Llanelli and Pembrokeshire, on this issue. The loss of the appeal was obviously disappointing, but it did not come as a complete surprise.

“It now seems likely that the solution to this will come from political decisions rather than from any legal ruling. I called for the Welsh Government to make representations once again to the Conservative Westminster Government on behalf of the women of Wales so affected. It is another example of how Westminster is not working for Wales.

“In the aftermath of the COVID crisis, this is particularly relevant. We of course have many women who would have expected to retire who are now having to stay in work, and they might be in a position, if they were able to retire and had the pension entitlement they expected, to retire a little earlier and potentially free up some further work for younger people who will desperately need it.”

The Counsel General promised the Senedd he would continue to make representations so that the Westminster Government engages with the 1950s born women.

Jane Jones, WASPI coordinator for Llanelli added: “We are thankful to Helen Mary Jones for putting the question to Counsel General following the outcome of the Appeal.

“However, we would like the Counsel General and Welsh Government to enforce a response from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, rather than say they haven’t replied.

“Many 1950s women have been forced into poverty and sadly others have died, during their fight for what is rightfully their state pension. The UK government have failed to include this cohort of women for any financial support during COVID and were yet again, the forgotten group in yesterday’s financial announcement by the Chancellor.

“The WASPI ask has remained the same for transitional payments and compensation. After multiple meetings with John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn for a couple of years, a solution was proposed by Labour pre-election 2019. Although this needed some tweaking, it was the best solution to this pension debacle. Is this offer still of the table with Labour?

“As part of COVID financial support, Anne Keen, Co-Founder of WASPI wrote to Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson in April with a proposal and a request to meet. They have failed to respond.”

“Plaid Cymru have been instrumental to the 1950s women fight for state pension justice and Ben Lake MP and Andrew Gwynne MP joined forces to take the immediate access to state pension proposal to the Westminster Parliament.

“There is a resolute partnership with our WASPI groups and other leading state pension action groups such as the 1950s Women of Wales and We Paid In You Pay Out and together we will carry on with what is the largest campaign since the “poll tax” and with One Voice will keep fighting for justice.”

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