Book Review by Ruth Hunt, Author of Single Feather and writer for The Morning Star

We Paid in You Pay Out (Book Review)

We Paid in You Pay Out, is a collection of personal testimonies from 1950’s-born women on how the unexpected rise in the state pension age is affecting their lives. It is edited by Trudy Baddams and was published in January 2018.

The argument should be well known by now. Women who were born in the 1950’s were told they would retire at 60 but were informed, far too late in the day, that their retirement age was now 66. The lack of information and confusion surrounding the retirement age even meant in 2016 the government’s own website stated that the retirement age for these women was 60.

The pension hike means if women have a job, they have to carry on working, but as this testimony describes, it can take a physical toll: “I am still working at the supermarket, but I suffer from arthritis and severe back pain and some mornings it’s a real struggle to get out of bed. I’m not sure I can keep it up for another two years…”

Women who can’t get a job or are too sick and/or disabled to work find their only option is the cruel DWP. One contributor with cancer was sanctioned after a DWP error. She writes about the impact of that sanction, and: “The constant fear and worry this will happen again.”

Other women take on caring roles. In the book, a 64-year-old woman tells of how she cared for her seriously ill partner. She writes: “In the past 5 years his condition worsened, resulting in end stage kidney failure and he was diagnosed with dementia… If I had been given my pension at 60, I could have given him 100% of caring, instead of having to go to work as well…. He passed away in March 2017.”

A few lines from a powerful poem at the end of the book points to how this rise in the pension age for the 1950’s women don’t solely affect them:

Companies are forced to employ tired and old

and young people feeling left out in the cold.

Money is not the main crux of this,

it’s 6 years been stolen – 6 years freedom we’ll miss!

It is this sense of injustice one is left with after reading this collection. The lives put on hold, and the suffering as a result. It’s also clear that this is not just an issue for the women affected but for society as a whole. It’s about decency, fairness, and cuts through generations from the very young to the old.

We Paid in You Pay Out – is available for £9.99 through PayPal at WePaidInYouPayOut@mail.com

Ruth F Hunt Author The Single Feather

Ebook link https://wepaidinyoupayout.wordpress.com/

 

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