Hammond jeered by women over pension changes

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Women protesting against changes to their pensions shouted “shame” and jeered from the public gallery as Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Budget speech.

A crowd of 80 members of the Women Against the State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group waved banners and chanted in protest at the Government’s previous decision to raise the state pension age from 60 to 66.

Some 3.9 million women have been affected by the changes and the Waspi group has made several high-profile protests including blocking a road outside Parliament earlier this month.

Anne Keen, a co-founder of the group, told the Press Association the Chancellor’s decision not to provide relief was “an insult”.

She said: “He can give money for toilets but not to hardworking women. It’s an insult, it’s so disrespectful.

“He was going on about rewarding hardworking people, we’ve worked since we were 15 – 45 years.

“We only want what we’re entitled to. We’re angry, we’ve been betrayed and we’re not going to go away until this is resolved, we will not be silenced.

“Our mantra from now on is deeds not words. We want action from the Government on this.”

Cheryl Sloan, a regional organiser of the group, said: “We waited to see if he was going to mention anything about pensions and he didn’t. It’s the same old same old, they’re totally ignoring us.

“We were banging on the window shouting ‘shame on you’. We had many more banners and posters to wave but we were frisked on the way in.

“Politicians need to realise that we are not going to go away, we will keep making our voice heard. All we want is what we’re owed, we’ve lost £48,000 on average because of this. It’s not right.”

The campaign group was set up in 2015 on behalf of millions of women, born in the 1950s, who since 1995 have twice seen the start date for their state pensions pushed back.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it was “disappointing in some respects” that the Budget was affected by a protest, but told the Commons his party understand the “suffering” of the Waspi women.

“We all recognise that what we saw today was very much the spirit of the suffragettes,” Mr Blackford said.

“We on this side of the House understand the suffering of the women born in the 1950s that have been betrayed by this Government.”

He added: “It’s about time that many of these women that are suffering in poverty get what is rightly theirs.”

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