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Waspi group demands meeting with Truss

Waspi in Linlithgow
Waspi campaigners want compensation (pic: Terry Murden)

Pensions campaign organisation Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has written to Liz Truss calling for the Prime Minister to discuss their demands for compensation.

WASPI is seeking justice for the 3.8m women born in the 1950s who say the pension age was raised without proper notice.

Some received only twelve months’ notice of a six-year hike to their State Pension age and have fought through the courts to get the government to compensate them for the payments they have lost. The group’s letter has more than 33,000 signatures.

Data released by WASPI this week suggests that 9,000 of those in the age group will die over the winter. The letter says one WASPI woman dies waiting for justice every 14 minutes and asks her to commit “to resolving a long-running injustice, without further delay”. 

The signatories ask that new Pensions ministers “open a dialogue with [WASPI] about a one-off compensation payment to make up for the financial loss and emotional trauma caused to women born in the 1950s”.

Angela Madden, chair of WASPI, says: “We have been dealing with the financial impact of the DWP’s maladministration for years now. 

“Many women had taken early retirement or left the workplace to undertake caring responsibilities, in full expectation that they’d receive a state pension from age 60.  Then the rug was pulled from under them.”

Statista research for the WASPI campaign shows that:

Letter to Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister

We write to ask that you commit the new government to resolving a long-running injustice, without further delay.

More than a year ago, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) found that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had been guilty of maladministration in communicating changes to the State Pension age to women born in the 1950s.

“The opportunity that additional notice would have given [women] to adjust their retirement plans was lost,” the Ombudsman found.  The PHSO has since encouraged the Department for Work and Pensions to be “proactive” in finding a remedy.

Women in this age group need to see these proactive steps from government immediately. Every 14 minutes another of us dies waiting for justice. Yet our campaign is falling on deaf ears in Whitehall.

The previous Pensions Minister resolutely refused to discuss any of this with us, summarily dismissing our letters, and requests to meet from Members of Parliament.

Far from engaging with us, ministers persistently and – we worry – wilfully misrepresent our position, claiming that we are seeking restitution of the State Pension age to 60, or that we wish to recoup ‘lost pensions’ in full.  Media statements from government also imply that the campaign group WASPI are challenging the legality of changes to the State Pension Age.

None of these things is true. Our simple, pragmatic ask is that ministers open a dialogue with us about a one-off compensation payment to make up for the financial loss and emotional trauma caused to women born in the 1950s, because of the maladministration at the DWP.

As a group of older women, who have contributed much to our country and continue to do so, we regard the previous cabinet’s approach to us as unforgivable.

We are, however, hopeful that as the new Prime Minister you will take a more constructive and respectful position. Will you commit publicly to meeting us on this issue, and to finding a fair remedy?

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