Alba challenge

Starmer urged to confirm pledge to WASPI women

Sir Keir Starmer with WASPI campaigners last year

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been urged by the Alba Party to confirm if his party will pay compensation to WASPI campaigners if he forms a Government after the next General election. 

Alba’s Westminster leader Neale Hanvey say Sir Keir should clarify if his party is still committed to pledges made to women born in the 1950s who say they were not adequately informed of a decision to extend the state pension age. 

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group is awaiting a report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) which could recommend an award of compensation.

In stage 1 of its investigation the PHSO found that 1950s women were victims of maladministration, but stage 2 which will determine compensation has been delayed. 

Last year the Labour Party leader was photographed with WASPI campaigners pledging that he supported the “fair and fast compensation for 1950s women.” His predecessor Jeremy Corbyn also pledged to compensate those affected.

Alba said that after Sir Keir backtracked on his pledges to scrap the bedroom tax and the two child benefit cap “he cannot be taken at his previous word and must now confirm if an incoming Labour Government will be committed to paying compensation to hundreds of women across Scotland and nearly four million across the UK.”

Jeremy Corbyn with WASPI campaigners during the 2019 General Election campaign (pic: Terry Murden)

The WASPI campaign has identified about 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who found they would have to work many more years when the state pension age was extended from 60 to 65 between 2016 and 2018 and in October 2020 to 66, for both men and women.

WASPI is not against equalisation, but it does not accept the way the changes were implemented.

Mr Hanvey said:  “Keir Starmer’s Labour Party have spent the summer recess selling out their principles and u-turning on key policy commitments. 

“Last year Starmer pledged that he supported the fast and fair payment of compensation to WASPI women, but Labour pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.”

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