The campaign group Lincolnshire Lionesses will be demonstrating outside Lincolnshire County Council today (Friday) against what they have called the ‘failure’ of the council to support vulnerable women who have lost their state pension.
A spokeswoman for the group said: “In September, Tory council leader Martin Hill refused to back the women, despite overwhelming evidence presented to the council that women were not informed of the increases in retirement age that were started back in 1995.”
Bett Johnson, from the Lincolnshire Lionesses, added: “It was quite clear at the last Full Council meeting that Councillor Hill did not understand our difficulties.
“We are turning up to ask him to apologise and agree to meet us, so that we can move forward in our campaign for justice with his support.
“Labour councillors show they understand, so why can’t he? We are sure that if he meets us face to face he will understand.”
Councillor Sarah Parkin, who proposed the motion in September, said: “East Lindsey District Council accepted the same motion last week that got rejected here in September.
“Councillors there were happy to work across parties to do the right thing and listened to the women themselves.
“Councillor Hill needs to realise that The Lincolnshire Lionesses are not going away. They will be at every Full Council meeting until we get an agreement from him to help. I have first hand stories of women born in the 1950s who are struggling to pay their way, and are reliant on food banks. It is a scandal, and these women need Councillor Hill to speak up for them”
Councillor Hill hit back at the criticism against him when approached for comment yesterday (Thursday).
Coun Hill said: “This issue was raised at council back in September when the council didn’t support a motion to take action on pension changes which have affected women born in the 1950s. It wasn’t just my decision, it was a council vote.
“I do have first-hand experience of this, as my wife falls into this category and due to the government changes is working beyond 60.
“A significant concession was made by government in 2011 to ensure that no woman will see an increase to the age at which she can draw her state pension of more than 18 months.
“When this motion was discussed in Council, it was suggested by some members that this doesn’t represent men as well as women of which the increased age on pensions affects some 2.3 million. Some thought this also didn’t represent all residents.
“If the government supported this group’s claim, then they would have to find savings elsewhere to cover the cost.
“This would also cause younger people to bear a greater share of the cost of the pension system and would be unfair.
“So, while I sympathise with those affected, we have considered this and the council has voted to reject it for the reasons explained above.”
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