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WASPI campaigner Deena Wild from Canterbury 'pushed into poverty' by pension changes

By Marijke Hall

A campaigner fighting “unjust” changes to women’s pensions claims she is being pushed into poverty.

Deena Wild - one of 3.8 million women forced to wait up to an extra six years to get their state pension under a government shake-up - says she will lose more than £51,000 in pension payments and will be reliant on her already dwindling savings until she turns 66.

The 60-year-old, who moved to Canterbury from Manchester in 2014 to be closer to her disabled granddaughter, previously worked as a set and costume designer and then a business advisor for creative industries.

Deena Wild from East Kent WASPI and is campaigning against the changes to the state pension. Picture: Andy Jones
Deena Wild from East Kent WASPI and is campaigning against the changes to the state pension. Picture: Andy Jones

She has become a member of East Kent WASPI - part of the national Women Against State Pension Inequality movement.

“I have struggled, fought my way up and raised two children as a single parent,” she said.

“I’ve faced discrimination in terms of promotion and comparative wage and only received my first equal pay when I worked for a female-led company in 2009.

“The system in those days did not make it easy for the majority of women to take out or access a work pension because in that era, women were often employed part-time or in several part-time roles due to raising children.”

Mrs Wild, who lives in Guilton in Ash, says she heard “through the grapevine” that the women’s pension age was being raised from 60 to 62 as part of a government push to bring the age in line with men’s, which is 65. This will steadily rise to 67 by 2028.

Deena Wild from East Kent WASPI and is campaigning against the changes to the state pension. Picture: Andy Jones
Deena Wild from East Kent WASPI and is campaigning against the changes to the state pension. Picture: Andy Jones

“It was a blow, but I thought my savings would take me through to my new retirement date,” said Mrs Wild, who works part time.

“But then I found out last year that the date had been raised again, with no letter and certainly no notice from the Department for Work and Pensions.

“I have worked all my life to come to an age when I really need and deserve some respite and a chance to enjoy my grandchildren, only to find I have been robbed of what I have paid in for all my life.

"I have no problem with equalisation - I do have a problem, however, with being reduced to near-poverty without a choice or the chance to prepare for that massive blow.”

Many women born in the 1950s, who had been expecting a state pension at 60, claim they were not told about the changes and set up campaign groups Backto60 and Women Against State Pension Inequality.

In November, a High Court judge granted a judicial review into how the raising of the pension age has been handled.

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