HELENSBURGH women campaigning for fair transitional pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s enlisted the support of local politicians in the run-up to last week's general election.

Local members of the Argyll and the Isles 'WASPI' campaign – Women Against State Pension Inequality – held an awareness-raising stall in Colquhoun Square and were visited by local Labour MSP Jackie Baillie and by the SNP's Brendan O'Hara, who went on to retain the Argyll and Bute seat in the June 8 poll.

Local SNP councillors Richard Trail and Lorna Douglas also lent their support by visiting the stall.

The following day the local campaigners sailed 'doon the watter' from Helensburgh to Rothesay for a packed public meeting with other WASPI members across Argyll and Bute to hear Mr O'Hara, Lib Dem candidate Alan Reid and Argyll and Bute's MSP Michael Russell pledge their support for the campaign and its goals.

One local campaigner said: “I have contributed for 47 years now and have another four years to work and contribute.

“I feel I have been duped to the tune of almost £60k when you consider six years' lost pensions and a further six years' contributions.

“I am one of millions affected, and our argument isn't about equalising the pension ages - that's understandable, but the maladministration involved which is surely unfair, if not illegal.”

Helensburgh resident Ann Greer, joint co-ordinator of the Argyll and the Isles WASPI campaign, said: “Many of the women affected by these changes are unable to continue working because of ill health or because their jobs become too physically demanding as they get older.

“The changes are resulting in up to £50,000 per woman being lost to the Argyll & Bute economy, and it affects families too – many men are having to work for more years than they want to because their wives have no income.

“3.5 million women have lost out, unfairly, because of the maladministration of pension changes introduced by successive governments.

“We wanted all parliamentary candidates to hear, first-hand, from 1950s women living in the constituency where they are seeking election.

"Women from various parts of Argyll shared their experiences as to how the pension changes are affecting them. Our voices and votes are significant.”

Both the Helensburgh stall and the Rothesay rally were part of a national day of action organised by the UK-wide WASPI campaign.

Central to the WASPI campaign is the lack of information they say was given to women born in the 1950s prior to the speeding-up of the process raising the age at which they qualify for their state pension.