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Enemies of the state pension are massing – now they’re even using Waspi women as a weapon | Personal Finance | Finance

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The state pension is under siege as a growing army of critics in Westminster and beyond say we can no longer afford it. They argue that Britain is broke and the state cannot afford to look after people in a retirement that can last for 25 years or more.

They argue that as the nation ages, the state pension is only going to get less and less affordable. That we all live too long anyway and need to face facts.

Critics will use any weapon they can find to erode faith in the state pension, and now they’re using Waspi women.

These are the 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who were hit by moves to increase the retirement age for women from 60 to 65 in line with men, and then to 66.

Many say they only discovered they would have to work for five or six years longer months before they were due to retire.

Many suffered severe hardship as a result.

Last week they were celebrating as the Ombudsman determined that the DWP had messed up, and they deserved compensation.

They weren’t celebrating for long.

Now there is pushback from deep within Westminster, as the Tories clearly don’t want to pay compensation that could cost taxpayers at least £10.5billion.

They’re not just trying to undermine Waspi women, but the state pension as a whole.

Critics say all sort of things about Waspi women. Some claim they were aware about the state pension age hike all along, and only pretended otherwise to boost their cause.

Others say most Waspi women are comfortably off, and don’t need compensation from the taxpayer.

Now they have struck upon another argument.

They say the Waspis are an example of what goes wrong when people think they have an absolute right to the state pension.

It means they get angry when politicians fiddle with it, making it harder to do things like hike the state pension age to keep it affordable.

As I’ve written before, the state pension isn’t a right, as many people believe, it is just another benefit.

What we get and when is entirely at the discretion of the government, like any other benefit.

That gives the government the right to change the state pension age. And not just for the Waspis, but for everyone. Which is exactly what’s happening.

READ MORE: Tories call on government to set date for Waspi compensation

Younger taxpayers can expect to work until 67, 68 or even later in life. Waspi critics are asking why should young people have to fund compensation, when they will themselves work for much longer.

There is an element of divide and rule in this. If the government can turn the young generation against the Waspis, they can get away without paying them anything.

Yet by undermining the Waspis, they are undermining the state pension as a whole. For everyone, including younger people who will need it themselves one day.

Because if the Waspis don’t have the right to be treated fairly – and properly informed of any changes to the state pension – nobody else does either.

Most people have accepted that we will have to work longer to keep the state pension affordable. The Waspis didn’t. No wonder Westminster is desperate to undermine them.

However, by doing so, they’re undermining the state pension as a whole.



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