A self-employed therapist who had her pension whisked away from her just months before she would have qualified for it is taking a tour of defiance to raise awareness.
Savile Park resident Jacqueline McKenzie, 62, will embark on a coach journey around the UK coastline on August 5, campaigning for justice for the thousands of women nationwide who have suffered from a rise in the pension age.
The former Piece Hall market trader will travel the country with the words ‘I want my pension back’ emblazoned on her suitcase. She also hopes to meet up with like-minded representatives of the ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ (WASPI) campaign group along the way.
Jacqueline said: “It might be seen as a little thing that I’m doing, but I hope it gives a little bit of exposure to the injustice suffered by women like me who have had their pensions taken away.”
Some 3.8 million 1950s women have been affected by the increase to their State Pension Age, the first of which was introduced by the 1995 Pension Act, which legislated for an incremental rise of the retirement age to 65 by 2020.
In 2011 the coalition government announced that the timetable would be sped up with womens pension age rising to 65 by November 2018. Mens and womens pension age would then rise together to 66 by October 2020.
A percentage of woman, including Jacqueline, received letters informing them of the increase within one year of their expected state pension age.
“There are so many stories of women who have fallen into financial difficulties because they didn’t have time to plan for this,” Jacqueline said, “We didn’t have time to prepare. Some women have committed suicide because of it.
“I’d planned to travel the coast to celebrate my retirement, but with the help of some friends and family I’ve decided I can do it now. It’s a lifelong ambition and I’m very excited.”