Monday, October 14, 2019

WASPI women ‘within touching distance’ of monumental state pension victory

Tories cannot necessarily rely on the DUP to help defend 'devastating' changes to women's state pension age.

Women affected by changes to the state pension age are “within touching distance” of forcing Government ministers to introduce transitional measures to help protect against poverty and hardship, it has been reported.

A petition calling on the Tory government to recognise “the need for a non-means tested bridging pension for women born on or after 6/4/1950 who are affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts” is close to securing 100,000 signatures – the minimum required to secure the possibility of a parliamentary debate.

The petition, created by Labour MP Grahame Morris, reads: “The 1995 Conservative Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s SPA to 65, the same as men’s.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), agree with equalisation, but don’t agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented – with little/no personal notice (1995/2011 Pension Acts), faster than promised (2011 Pension Act), and no time to make alternative plans.

“Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.”

Campaigners also say the government should “compensate those at risk of losing up to around £45,000”, whilst also accusing the government of failing to provide those affected with adequate notification of the changes.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who are propping up the Tories in government following a woeful election campaign led by PM Theresa May, are reportedly in favour of transitional protections and are said to be applying pressure on the government to “end this injustice”.

There is also growing discontent among some Conservative MPs, who fear the move could deter older generations from voting for the party in the next general election.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said “discussions are ongoing” with the DUP to encourage the UK Government to look again at the changes, ahead of Phillip Hammond’s Budget Speech next month.

Mr Blackford, the Member of Parliament for Ross, Skye and Lochabe, said: “The Government has the support of the DUP over the budget, but doesn’t necessarily have the support of the DUP on this matter.

“We know there are a number of Tory MPs who have spoken out on this, too, so it is clear to me that the Government doesn’t have a majority.

“I think the pressure is going to grow to end this injustice.”

WASPI co-founder Anne Keen said: “WASPI is delighted with the cross-party support and the significant support from within the Conservative Party.

“The Chancellor has the ideal opportunity to address this injustice in the forthcoming Budget.”

Mr Morris said: “If the DUP stick to their word, and I think they will, then we will see real progress on this. It is within touching distance.”

Click here to sign the petition.

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