Waspi fight turns to early state pension access

Waspi fight turns to early state pension access

The Women Against State Pension Inequality movement has launched a parliamentary petition calling for women born in the 1950s to be granted early access to their state pension.

The petition was launched by the Waspi Voice faction of the movement, and went live last night (14 February). By 10:45 am this morning it had already gathered 2,228 signatures.

Waspi seeks to address the grievances of women affected by the government's decision to raise the state pension age for women from 60 to as high as 66. The change caught many women born in the 1950s by surprise, in some cases leaving them without an income. 

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The petition calls for the government to "implement optional early drawing of a reduced state pension for the 1950s women".

It states: "The government must provide a timely solution to women affected by the Waspi/Waspi Voice issues who have no entitled income for up to six years as a result of the way increases to the state pension age were implemented leaving many with insufficient funds to meet their existing financial commitments."

As with all parliamentary petitions, if it reaches 10,000 signatures the government will have to respond, and if it reaches 100,000 the issue will be considered for debate in parliament.

"Waspi Voice" was formed when the original founding members of the movement split. The other group took control of the "Waspi" brand.

Waspi Voice has pitched itself as the more moderate of the two factions.

While the Waspi group is planning legal action to overturn or significantly wind back the government's changes, Waspi Voice has launched a parliamentary petition, as well as attempting to crowdfund £10,000 to help women hit by the changes.

A spokesperson for Waspi Voice said the petition was launched following consultation with affected women who wanted a more "realistic" solution to that supposedly being pursued by the other faction.

"Women have been asking Waspi Voice to put forward a realistic solution and this seems to best fit the bill, in terms of factors such as cost and equalisation, and would give women freedom to choose whether it would work for them," she said.

The spokesperson said the more militant faction was campaigning for "an unknown percentage of pension entitlement to be paid", a full pension on reaching the new state pension age, as well as compensation for women already in receiving the state pension.

"Whilst there are women who are affected by the issues of the Waspi Campaign who have the same aim, this isn't the case for all, many understand the need to be realistic, and need help sooner rather than later," she said.