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Liz Truss must use new role to support women of Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:54 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:57 17 September 2019

Norfolk Broads PAIN group leaders, pictured from left, Lynn Nicholls, Annette James, and Lorraine White. Photo: Archant

Norfolk Broads PAIN group leaders, pictured from left, Lynn Nicholls, Annette James, and Lorraine White. Photo: Archant

Archant

Lynn Nicholls, Annette James, and Lorraine White from the Norfolk Broads PAIN (Pension Actions in Norfolk) group are calling for Norfolk MP Liz Truss to support their fight for better pension rights.

South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, who has been appointed minister for women and equalities. Photo: ArchantSouth West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, who has been appointed minister for women and equalities. Photo: Archant

We have a new minister for women and equality - Elizabeth Truss, MP for south west Norfolk, who was appointed to the role this week.

Is she a suitable choice? Will she help women and stand up for equality?

Unfortunately, women have never been equal and until men can give birth, never will be! More men help out with childcare now, but it still falls to the majority of women to look after sick children, organise their children's activities and social lives and help elderly parents. This normally happens alongside a demanding job as two wages are now routinely needed to pay the mortgage. Pay is becoming more equal but not without a fight as we saw with BBC television presenters last year. Women are currently earning 18% less than men.

Women born in the 1950s who were working in the 1970s and later were routinely discriminated against in the area of workplace pensions. It was not until May 2000 (yes, less than 20 years ago) that a judgement in the European Court of Justice ended decades of legal wrangling and made it illegal to bar part-time female workers from joining their employer's pension scheme.

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Given the nature of childcare then, many mothers were part-time workers and would clearly have smaller pension pots to draw on when they retired. Research in 2019 by the Pensions Policy Institute reported that women in their sixties have on average £51,100 to draw a pension from - a third of an average man's £156,500 pension pot - according to their calculations.

Our Norfolk Broads-PAIN (Pension Action In Norfolk) Group is fighting for justice for those affected by State Pension Age changes introduced too quickly and without adequate notice.

Before all you men out there shout "but you wanted equality", let us explain. We are not against equality just the harsh way women born in the 1950s have borne the brunt of it. To only get 18 months' notice of an extra six-year wait without any transitional help is a government failure.

During our three years of campaigning we have encountered Elizabeth Truss on many occasions. The reaction from our members to the news Elizabeth has been given this role was not favourable with one member commenting: "It's like putting a fox in charge of the hen house!"

Our group members' letters and emails have been constantly ignored. Meetings are refused as she "has already seen us". She refuses to sign our parliamentary ombudsman complaint forms so we asked Clive Lewis, MP for Norwich South, to sign them instead. He willingly helped us out. While we understand a minister has to toe the party line, we are still her constituents and we deserve better.

We are throwing down the gauntlet Elizabeth. You are now in a position to help us so please stand up for Norfolk women affected by pension age changes and show us what you can do.

For more information you can follow the Norfolk Broads-PAIN Pension Group on Facebook or email norfolkbroadspensions@gmail.com

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