State PensionMay 14 2018

Waspi gets support from Scottish Parliament

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Waspi gets support from Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has passed a motion to support women born in the 1950s affected by an increase in the state pension age.

The resolution, presented by MSP Sandra White, called on the Scottish government to "urge the UK government to provide a bridging pension that supplies an income until state pension age, which is not means tested".

The motion also called for compensation for the absence of a bridging pension to those who have already reached their state pension age, compensation to all those who have not started to receive a bridging pension by an appropriate date, which would be sufficient to recover lost monetary interest, and compensation to the beneficiaries of the estates of those who are deceased and failed to receive a bridging pension.

The proposal was originated in the Holyrood cross party group, which is supporting the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign.

According to Waspi, concerns were also raised in the Scottish Parliament about the legal case against the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).

MSPs agreed to try to arrange a meeting with the Work and Pensions secretary, Esther McVey, to discuss the legal case.

Waspi is also planning to contact Welsh and Irish ministers for social security about their campaign, with a view to submitting their findings to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women.

Pat Tarttelin, Waspi’s chairman, said campaign members were aiming to replicate the success of Scottish MSPs and MPs across the UK, who have targeted constituents to alert Waspi aged women to the state pension delays and encouraged attendance at prearranged meetings in their location.

She said: "This has undoubtedly resulted in exceptional numbers of attendees. This week in East Lothian around 400 women turned up to a meeting.

"The board aim to use this wonderful support from the Scottish Parliament to further the campaign in Westminster."

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.

In November, Bindmans, firm which was assisting the campaign, achieved a breakthrough in this case, as the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman agreed to intervene to speed up responses to complaints.

Thousands of women from across the country have submitted, and continue to submit, complaints against the DWP to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE), but the progress on these has been slow.

However, Bindmans is no longer supporting Waspi, due to an internal dispute.

The MPs announced last month a set of proposals to help the women affected by the increase in the state pension age, which “disappointed” the Waspi current board.

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has previously dismissed making changes to the state pension age arrangements, since it would cost more than £70bn.