Women from Ayrshire travelled to a mass demonstration in London on Wednesday, March 8, to protest at the lack of information given to them about their state pension changes.

The event coincided with Budget Day and also International Women’s Day.

Women from all over Ayrshire are members of the national Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

Ann Fraser a coordinator of the Ayrshire WASPI group, explained that in 1995, the Government changed the law so that the age at which a woman could receive a state pension would move in line with men to 65.

Ann said: "Of course we support bringing about equality in pensions between men and women, but the problem is that the government didn’t inform women when they made the change in 1995.

"Then, in 2011, the coalition government decided that the new pension age of 65 would be brought in two years earlier in 2018 and for both sexes it would rise to 66 in 2020.

"Again many women weren’t informed of this change either. “We are still meeting women in Ayrshire who genuinely believe they will get their pension at 60.

"The lack of notice has caused real problems, not allowing women time to plan for their later retirement and pushing many into financial hardship.”

Undeterred by the 960 mile round trip, members of the Ayrshire WASPI group set off early on March 8 to meet with their fellow campaigners opposite the Houses of Parliament and join in the demonstration, which was followed by a mass lobby of MPs, including Phillipa Whitford, Patricia Gibson, Corri Wilson and Alan Brown.

The protest organisers said that they will be making enough noise to be heard in the Commons Chamber while the Chancellor is delivering his Budget Speech.

A spokesman for WASPI said the aim of the event is to: "Bring the pensions plight of 1950s women to the attention of the government. We have worked hard all our lives, many of us from the age of 15, saved and supported ourselves. Now we find that after a lifetime of doing the right thing, through a lack of notice of the pension age changes, the government is taking away our security in retirement.

"Many of our women have lost as much as £48,000 of pension income and had as little as eighteen months’ notice of a six year increase to their State Pension Age. It’s no wonder that they are calling on the government to make fair transitional arrangements to their new pension age." 

“WASPI does not object to the increase in the women’s SPA, but simply the unfair and discriminatory way the changes were carried through.”

Ayrshire WASPI women were invited into Parliament to hear speeches by Mhairi Black, Ian Blackford and Alex Salmond.

Ann said “This was an inspiring and exhilarating experience for the entire local Ayrshire WASPI`s present.”

For more information or to get involved in the campaign contact: ayrshirewaspi@gmail.com