Waspi women aban­doned by UK gov­ern­ment, says MP

The Arran Banner - - News -

An MP has ex­pressed her anger and dis­ap­point­ment at the in­ac­tion re­gard­ing the plight of Women Against State Pen­sion In­equal­ity (Waspi).

The UK gov­ern­ment has ac­cel­er­ated the equal­i­sa­tion of pen­sion ages for men and women, mean­ing that women born in the 1950s have lost thou­sands of pounds in pen­sion pay­ments with­out hav­ing suf­fi­cient no­tice to plan for the changes.

In North Ayr­shire and Ar­ran, 4,800 women have been ad­versely af­fected. Many women who ex­pected to re­tire at 60 have been forced into poverty and onto ben­e­fits.

North Ayr­shir and Ar­ran MP Pa­tri­cia Gib­son, who se­cured and led a de­bate on the is­sue at West­min­ster last week, said: ‘I am beyond dis­ap­pointed by the lack of any mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment from the UK Gov­ern­ment on this is­sue. It is dis­mis­sive and dis­re­spect­ful to an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of women.

‘There is no doubt that there was a com­plete fail­ure of com­mu­ni­ca­tion by pre­vi­ous UK Gov­ern­ments to the women af­fected. Min­is­ters have ad­mit­ted as much. There has been an ap­palling ab­di­ca­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity with no re­gard to the im­pact these changes would have.

‘Tory MPs said this was about deal­ing with in­creases in life ex­pectancy. How­ever, the way these changes were im­ple­mented has left many of the women im­pacted in poverty and hard­ship.

‘For UK Min­is­ters to say there is no so­lu­tion is an in­sult to these women.

‘The SNP com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent re­port in 2016 which pro­posed re­vert­ing to the pro­vi­sions of the 1995 Pen­sions Act. This would raise the state pen­sion age in 2020 and costed at £8 bil­lion over five years, paid from a Na­tional In­sur­ance Fund pro­jected to have a sur­plus this year of £30.7 bil­lion.

This was re­jected by the UK Gov­ern­ment as were a range of po­ten­tial so­lu­tions put for­ward by oth­ers. The UK Gov­ern­ment of­fered no so­lu­tion and has re­fused to en­gage with the women af­fected.

‘The state pen­sion sys­tem has been un­der­mined by this trav­esty.

‘A so­cial con­tract has been bro­ken. Nev­er­the­less, Waspi will not sit back. The cam­paign will go on, and I will sup­port it all the way.’

North Ayr­shire and Ar­ran MP Pa­tri­cia Gib­son.

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