Waspi women abandoned by UK government, says MP

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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.’