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'Degrading' - women's pensions activists stage Downing Street protest

PUBLISHED: 17:12 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 11 February 2020

Campaigners protested the rise in the women’s state pension age at a sit-down protest at Downing Street and the Department of Work and Pensions. Photo: Lynn Nicholls

Campaigners protested the rise in the women's state pension age at a sit-down protest at Downing Street and the Department of Work and Pensions. Photo: Lynn Nicholls

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Campaigners protesting the rise in the women's state pension age have staged a sit-down protest at a government department.

Members of a Norfolk pensions action group joined activists for a demonstration at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today (Tuesday, February 11). Photo: Yvonne CourtneyMembers of a Norfolk pensions action group joined activists for a demonstration at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today (Tuesday, February 11). Photo: Yvonne Courtney

Members of a Norfolk pensions action group joined activists for a demonstration at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today (Tuesday, February 11).

The activists gathered at the statue of suffragette Millicent Fawcett at midday, before moving on to Caxton House, Westminster, where some members of the group sat on the floor of the foyer, surrounded by police.

They are campaigning against a rise in the state pension age for women, which was upped from 60 to 66 - and activists say they were not given sufficient notice to plans their finances.

READ MORE: Isolated, sat in the dark, and using food banks - woman shares agony of life without a pension

Protestors seated on the floor at Caxton House, Westminster, surrounded by police. Photo: Yvonne CourtneyProtestors seated on the floor at Caxton House, Westminster, surrounded by police. Photo: Yvonne Courtney

Lynn Nicholls, one of the organisers of the Norfolk Broads PAIN group, said: "We are proud of our members who travelled to London today.

"We are sick of being ignored and dismissed by the Tory government and will continue to fight against this injustice as noisily as we can."

While Great Yarmouth Labour councillor Mike Smith-Clare commented: "It is a complete disgrace how 1950s born women have been treated.

"Not only have they been robbed, they've also been continually lied to and ignored.

The group later moved on to protest outside Downing Street, Pictured, Yvonne Courtney, left, who described not having a pension as The group later moved on to protest outside Downing Street, Pictured, Yvonne Courtney, left, who described not having a pension as "degrading". Photo: Yvonne Courtney

"I'm proud of their determination to challenge these injustices - they have my full support."

Activist Yvonne Courtney, from Tasborough, said: "I'm 64 - I've been waiting four and a half years for my pension.

READ MORE: 'A slap in the face' - women hit back at 'immoral' High Court state pension age ruling

"I didn't know I wasn't going to get my pension. My husband keeps me. If it wasn't for him, I don't know what I'd do [but] it makes me feel like a child asking for pocket money - it's degrading."

She added: "We all met up at midday by the suffragette statue.

"We've lost 90,000 ladies who have died over the last few years waiting for their pensions.

"We've put ribbons everywhere for the ladies we've lost."

The group later moved on to protest outside Downing Street.

A spokesman for the DWP said: "The government decided more than 20 years ago that it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality, and this has been clearly communicated.

"We need to raise the age at which all of us can draw a state pension so it is sustainable now and for future generations."

READ MORE: 'A slap in the face' - women hit back at 'immoral' High Court state pension age ruling

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