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WASPI group buoyed by buzz of support

Terry smiling headWomen campaigning against the extension to the state pension age will be encouraged by a surge in support for their cause in Westminster.

Not only is there evidence of more MPs being persuaded that the legislation is wrong, the ranks of those backing the campaign is coming from all parties.

The WASPI group (Women Against State Pension Inequality) has fought a tenacious battle over the extension to the state pension from 60 to 66 for millions born in the 1950s.

They claim they were not told soon enough about the plans and that the government has broken a contract which entitled them to their pension at 60 after paying in their national insurance contributions over the required period.

It has left almost 4 million women with a pension shortfall and, in some cases, many are facing severe hardship, particularly those in poor health or having to look after others.

Now, 184 of Westminster’s 650 MPs have rallied behind the WASPI banner.

WASPI director Jane Cowley says the general election gave the campaign an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue. A subsequent early day motion and debate in Westminster Hall in July, has led more MPs to sign up.

The Government, however, appears to be digging in its heels and showing few signs of relenting. The Department for Work and Pensions insists there are no plans to amend the legislation and says the process has been under way for 20 years.

Its argument is that there is a need not only to achieve gender equality, something that is both fair and sustainable, but that the government must account for how it supports greater numbers of people living longer lives. Life expectancy in 1900 was 31. In 2015 it was 72. By 2030 it could be 120, according to some estimates. Unless people work longer this will put enormous strain on the public finances.

The department points out that women retiring today can still expect to receive the state pension for 26 years on average – which is more than any generation before them and several years longer than men.

For the WASPI women the issue is more about a breakdown of trust and a betrayal of those who have paid their dues.

They want the government to change the state pension age timetable, though a plan to make transitional payments, proposed by a committee chaired by Frank Field MP, has also been rejected as unworkable.

The WASPI women say they will continue to campaign until the government  “re-evaluates its position.”
With the DWP’s intransigence matched by WASPI’s determination it looks like this could be a case of who blinks first.
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3 Comments to WASPI group buoyed by buzz of support

  1. I was born 8th September 1954 so I’m one of those affected most. My sister is a year older than me and has just got her pension at 64. How can it be fair that I have to work 2 more years than her? This year was the first time ever that I didn’t vote as I didn’t have faith in any party.

  2. Steve Webb, Pensions Minister when the 2011 Act was passed, is on record as saying that it was wrong, he had been badly advised and did not understand the consequences. He also admits that when women found out about the 2011 Act it was the first they had heard of the 1995 Act. The 1995 Act would have moved SPA from 60 to 65 over 5 birth years – DOB 6 March 1950 SPA 60, DOB 6 March 1955 SPA 65. This is a brutally fast timetable and very hard to bear for those born in 54 and 55 but the 2011 Act then dealt a further vicious blow to women hardest hit by the 1995 Act and started moving SPA at 3 months each birth month for those born after April 53. This means that women born in 1953 reach SPA in 5 different years (2015,16,17,18.19) and the woman born on 6 September 1954 is the first to have an SPA of 66.

  3. The WASPI campaign is a just fight for members such as I who continue to work at age 61 years having paid my full dues to my state pension in full time work for nearly 43 years. I did not find out that I would not receive my state pension until 2012 therefore with no time to provide myself with an additional income. I do not think it fair that I cannot claim my 43 years of full contributions when certain individuals are claiming benefits and have not contributed anything to the system. A phased approach for us 1950s women should happen, the government have broken their contract with us. If I were to stop paying my taxes I would be in big trouble. People in glass houses cannot ignore those who are not lucky enough to be in their positions, it. Should bother senior circle servants and ministers, just because it doesn’t affect their standard of living, they should not adopt an “I’m ok Jack” attitude. Please help us ladies get the justice we deserve

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