A SOUTH Lakes woman has called for compensation for her losses after a “sudden” hiking of the state pension age.

Carol Haigh, of Burton-in-Kendal, said that at 58 years-old she discovered she would have to wait until she was nearly 66 to claim her pension, and would not receive it at 60 as she had expected to. She had been made redundant at 56.

“At that time I was thinking I’ve only got four years to do, I can manage on savings,” said Mrs Haigh, now 65.

“I couldn’t get another job. I tried.

“I went for many interviews and it really took a toll on my mental health because I was just getting rejection after rejection.”

She added: “I was lucky because I did have savings at the time, and I had a husband. There was a lot of women living out there on their own.”

Although Mrs Haigh has just turned old enough to claim her pension, she has been campaigning to draw attention to the plight of other women like her.

She and three others from the Lancaster and South Lakes WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) group travelled to Salford to take part in a demonstration outside Media City.

Many different people gave speeches to the crowds, including Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester.

Mrs Haigh estimated that 800 to 1,000 women from all across the country turned up to the event, whose location was chosen because many of the participants felt that media coverage - and particularly BBC coverage - of their problems had been inadequate. A variety of different groups took part.

Mrs Haigh stressed that WASPI had “no problem with equalisation”. However, she said: “We should have been told a lot sooner. But it should have been raised far more gradually over 10 to 20 years.

“A six-year hike should take place over 20 years really.”

On its website, WASPI asks for “fair transitional state pension arrangements” for women affected by changes to the state pension law in the 1995 and 2011 State Pension Acts.

It adds: “This translates into a ‘bridging’ pension to provide an income until state pension age, not means-tested, and with recompense for losses for those women who have already reached their state pension age.”

In another event, members of various WASPI groups across Cumbria and Lancashire travelled to Carlisle, where they did some leafleting to raise awareness.