The current board of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) movement is “disappointed” with the proposals brought forward by a group of MPs, which last week announced their solutions for women affected by an increase in the state pension age.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on State Pension Inequality for Women, led by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, announced on Friday (27 April) the proposals it will include in its private members’ Bill, which is tabled to be discussed in Parliament on 15 June.
Their goal is to get the government to review pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have or will be financial disadvantaged by changes to equalise the state pension age between men and women, and consider costings for three solutions.
The first option is making a non-means-tested pension credit available to all women age 63 and over, from the day it is approved until they reach state pension age, which won’t be backdated.
The APPG second solution is to equalise women’s pensions, so that everyone receives a full state pension (£159 per week) regardless of the number of years of National Insurance contributions they have accrued.
Last, but not least, the MPs want to extend pension credit for those women worst affected who have no other income or private pension available to them and are suffering financial hardship.
Over 100 groups representing 1950’s born women affected by changes to the state pension age took part in a consultation promoted by the APPG, which was discussed in a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday (25 April).
However, Waspi isn’t happy with the MPs' proposals.
The current Waspi board - which has been embroiled in an internal dispute since February - said that it is “disappointed” that the movement’s request of “a bridging pension and recompense, for all women born in the 1950s affected by the changes to the SPA, has not been considered in the proposals”.
It added: “This will not deter us and we will continue to campaign for justice.
“The board will meet shortly to discuss the way forward”.
Waspi claims that while the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women’s state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.
The group also claimed the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.
Waspi is campaigning for transitional arrangements.
The movement is asking the government for a bridging pension to provide an income from age 60 until state pension age - not means-tested - and with recompense for losses for those women who have already reached their state pension age.
Waspi’s board is currently comprised of Anne Keen, co-founder and director of the movement, and a series of new directors: Patricia Tarttelin, Cheryl Anne Sloan, Lila Bennett, Rosemary Dickson and May Low.
These were appointed after the previous board members - Jane Cowley, Angela Christina Madden, Susan Beevers, Carole Archibald and Jane Carolan – resigned in February due to “irreconcilable differences”.