David Hencke | 50s pensioners: Time for you to put the boot into your local councillor at May’s elections
The 3.9 million 50s pensioners have a great opportunity to get their views across at the local elections to be held on Thursday, May 3. Elections will be held in all 32 London boroughs, 34 metropolitan boroughs, 68 district/borough councils and 17 unitary authorities. There are also elections for mayors in the London boroughs of Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and just outside London in Watford.
Local elections are of course about local matters. However, the performance of political parties at local elections is always judged by the media as a snapshot of national voting intentions. Also, the attitude of local councillors towards the plight of women denied their pensions for up to six years could well be symptomatic of their attitude towards other injustice issues.
You can do this by first getting on top the House of Commons library constituency estimates of the 3.9 million people affected here.
Go to the end of the summary and download the constituency estimates ( You will need Excel on your computer).Then look up your constituency and the total number of people affected. You will find it is thousands in your constituency.
Next, go onto the Wikipedia link at the end of the report and see if your council has elections. Then go on to the council’s site and chase up your ward councillors.
Challenge them to put pressure on their MP to get government policy changed so you will get your money. If they refuse to vote for the nearest challenger who will.
So where are the key places where 3.9 million women can make their votes count? Here are some good examples, with all the links set out for you.
In London where all the seats are up for grabs, the most obvious place to register a protest vote is Barnet. There are 18,200 women affected in the borough and the council is narrowly Conservative who oppose any change or concessions to the women.
Another is the London borough of Hillingdon where there are 16,100 women affected and it is represented by two high profile MPs, Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor. The current council has 42 Conservatives and 23 Labour. You can get a ward breakdown here.
And for a different slant, the Royal London Borough of Kingston has 12,000 women affected (though some are in Richmond) and a council with 28 Conservatives, 18 Liberal Democrats and 2 Labour councillors – a Conservative majority of eight. You can check your ward here.
Some of you may find yourself in Richmond as Tory Zac Goldsmith’s Richmond Park constituency straddles both boroughs.
Conservatives have a bigger majority in Wandsworth with 41 seats topping Labour’s 19 and there are 11,900 women affected living there. You can find your ward here.
A longer shot is the London Borough of Bexley which has 45 Conservative,15 Labour and three UKIP councillors. But it has 15,200 women affected. A rundown on your local ward councillors is here.
.Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire is currently not under any party control. It has 25 Labour councillors, 18 Conservatives, 13 Liberal Democrats and one UKIP councillor. One-third of the council is up for election. There are 14,400 women affected in the borough. So it will provide an ideal opportunity to put all the parties on the spot. You can check your ward here.
Calderdale also has a third of the council up for election. The council which covers Halifax and the surrounding area has 12,900 women affected. The council is also not under any party control. The council has 23 Labour members, 21 Conservatives, 5 Liberal Democrats and two Independents. You can find your ward here.
They include big cities like Manchester, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne as well as smaller places like Hastings, Gosport, Portsmouth, South Lakeland, Maidstone, Huntingdon and West Lancashire.
David Hencke | How angry 50s women deprived of a pension can boot their MP out of a job
Many angry 50s women frustrated they can’t get a pension for up to six years – have the power at the ballot box to knock out the MPs who voted for the change. Since the next general election will be closely fought and many seats have narrow majorities they are literally – no pun intended -in poll position to effect change.
There isn’t a constituency in the United Kingdom that has less than 3000 of these pensioners according to a breakdown helpfully provided by the House of Commons library.
And it is the current Theresa May government and her DUP allies who are vigorously pursuing higher and higher retirement ages for future generations of pensioners that are the MPs most at risk. The Conservatives got a high proportion of votes from the over 60s at the last general election so need these votes to win the next election.
The biggest voter power of this group is in the Isle of Wight – where there are over 10,000 people affected by the raising of the pension age.The Tory MP, Bob Seely appears to have an impregnable 20,998 majority – but that would be halved if this group of people voted didn’t vote for him.. The main challenger there is Labour who came second and if people switched their vote to Labour it would become a highly marginal seat.
Much more vulnerable is home secretary and ironically women and equalities minister Amber Rudd, whose Hastings and Rye seat, has 7400 people affected. She has a majority of 366 and Labour is the main challenger. There are 20 times more people hit by the change than her majority.
Another ultra-marginal is Calder Valley where the Conservative MP Craig Whittaker, a Treasury whip, has a majority of 609 over Labour. There are 7000 people affected by the change in his constituency.
Similarly, Corby where Tom Pursglove has a Conservative majority of 2,690 – it is more than outnumbered by 7,300 people affected. Both Milton Keynes seats (North and South) have small 2000+ Tory majorities but over 14,000 people affected between them. And Scarborough, where Conservative MP Robert Goodwill has a 3435 majority, is dwarfed by 7,100 people affected.
The entire London borough of Barnet is another hotspot. Chipping Barnet, where Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP and ex-minister, has a 353 majority has 6,200 people affected. Labour is again the main challenger. Next door Hendon which also has 6.200 people affected. Tory MP Matthew Offord has a majority of 1072 over Labour.In Finchley and Golders Green, Tory Mike Freer has a majority of 1657 over Labour and there are 6000 people affected.
There are also a string of safe Tory seats with between 7,000 and 7,800 pensioners who have lost out where the Tory majority can be severely dented or turned into marginals by switching to the highest challenger. Among these are Beverley and Holderness ( Graham Stuart majority 14,042); Bridgewater and West Somerset ( Ian Liddell-Grainger majority 15,448); Croydon South ( Chris Philp majority 11,406); South Dorset ( Richard Drax majority 11,695), Wells (James Heappey, majority 7585 over liberal democrat) and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk ( John Lamont, majority 11,060).
Among Labour seats with over 7,000 pensioners affected include marginal Colne Valley (Thelma Walker majority 915) and safe seats Croydon North and Brent North. The most marginal with over 7000 affected people in Rutherglen and Hamilton West held by Gerrard Killen with a majority of 265 over SNP.
DUP seats with the largest numbers of people affected ( 6500 and 6400 respectively) are Upper Bann held by David Simpson with a 7,992 majority and Antrim North held by Ian Paisley Jnr with an 11,546 majority.
None of the Welsh Parliamentary seats had more than 7000 pensioners.
In addition, there are those with lower numbers of people affected but who could influence the result. One is East Worthing and Shoreham which has 6,100 people affected. The MP is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women pensioners group, Tim Loughton. He has a 5106 majority over Labour.
These results suggest that Waspi and BackTo60 supporters have more influence than they realise. It is a question of energising it.
David Hencke | 29.01.18. To view the article, click here .
Home secretary Amber Rudd- most high profile Tory who could be unseated by angry people who have lost their pension for up to six years Pic credit: BBC
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