NEWS
WASPI WOMEN RESPOND TO THE QUEEN’S SPEECH

The WASPI Campaign has today (22.6.17) responded to the Queen’s Speech and written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke calling for urgent action to resolve the issues arising from the lack of notice to 1950s born women about the changes to their State Pension Age.
  
The WASPI general election campaign called on all election candidates to pledge to work in Parliament to help the 3.5 million women affected by these changes. It secured the support of 480 candidates, 190 of whom are now in Parliament.
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WASPI Director, Jane Cowley said:

“We were very disappointed that the Government made no mention of WASPI women in the Queen’s Speech yesterday.

“In the run-up to the General Election we were delighted that so many candidates pledged to work in Parliament to find a solution. This included a number of Conservative MPs who have pledged to support our campaign.

“Since then, however, there has been no recognition from the Government of the severe financial hardship faced by women across the country because of the mismanagement of changes to the state pension age.

“We have received support for our campaign from all of the political parties, including an enhanced commitment from the Labour Party to deliver transitional arrangements, and were particularly pleased with Westminster SNP Leader, Ian Blackford’s comments yesterday, raising the WASPI issue in Parliament. However, this is not enough.

“We need to take forward discussions on WASPI as a matter of urgency, and have today written to the Secretary of State with a request to meet with us to discuss how we can achieve fairness and justice for all women, regardless of their background and financial situation.”

The Westminster Leader of the SNP, Ian Blackford said in response to the Queen’s Speech yesterday, “it is utterly disgraceful that some of the worst affected women were given 14 months written notice of an increase in their pensionable age.”
WASPI RESPONSE TO THE LABOUR MANIFESTO
 
“We welcome the Labour party’s commitment to WASPI women and their understanding that we deserve both recognition for the injustice we have suffered and compensation. We look forward to reviewing their actual proposals as soon as possible. 
 
“We also appreciate their recognition of the breach of trust between WASPI women and the government by their intent to change the law so no other group of workers will suffer as we have.

“Although it is positive that they are committed to exploring options for further transitional protections, we would like to see the Labour party commit to implementing a ‘bridging’ pension to provide an income from age 60 until State Pension Age for all women affected.

“Our campaign is about fairness and justice for all women, regardless of their background and financial situation.  Around 3.5 million women are affected, we must fight this injustice together.”

OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO LIBDEM MANIFESTO:

"We are very disappointed that the Liberal Democrats have decided not support WASPI women in this manifesto.
Around 3.5 million women deserve fairness and justice, regardless of their background and financial situation. To ignore this many women is a huge oversight by the Lib Dem leadership.
We must work to fight this injustice together. We are pleased to have received individual support from Liberal Democrat candidates across the country, and we hope they will stand up for us and convince the wider party to back the WASPI women's campaign".

OFFICIAL RESPONSE TO CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO:

"We are very disappointed that the Conservative Party has chosen to ignore the voices of 3.5 million women who have lost out, unfairly, because of pension changes unreasonably introduced by successive governments. 
We are fighting for fairness and justice for all women and want recognition of the mismanagement of the changes to the state pension age. 
Our votes are likely to significantly impact the election results. We had hoped that the Conservatives would choose to fight this injustice with us, particularly given that Conservative candidates have pledged to support WASPI women in the next Parliament"

NORTH SOUTH EAST AND WEST

WASPI groups spreading the word and finding strength and motivation to keep campaigning.

If you see a gap where you live could you start a WASPI group? Visit the Local Groups page to find your nearest and how to start a group.

They all started with just one or two women​!

YOUNGEST WASPI CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER

WASPI are proud to present Charlie White who, aged only 10, has a great career in politics ahead of him. Hearing about the WASPI women's fight he asked to lobby his MP and did.  

Here's Charlie with his signed certificate from the WASPI Board. We wish him all the best and thank him for his interest.

As well as politics and important issues Charlie is keen on football and plays for Hull United Whites Under 10s. Well done!

Is he the youngest WASPI Campaign Supporter?

LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE

Please follow the link here to see the letter Bindmans have sent to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to coincide with International Women's Day.

It states we are seeking redress for the injustice suffered by women in the 1950s resulting from the substantial changes to state pension arrangements that were not properly communicated.

WASPI Crowdjustice
CONNECT COMMUNICATIONS

We are pleased to announce that we have retained Connect Communications to work with us on our political campaign.  The generous grant from The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust has enabled us to do this and Connect will be working closely with us to enable us to make our voices heard by the decision makers in government.   Connect is a well respected firm with experience in supporting clients to deliver high impact political communications and an ethical approach to public affairs.


SUPPORT FROM JOSEPH ROWNTREE REFORM TRUST LTD

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) are delighted to announce that they have just been awarded a large grant by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.

The grant will further enable WASPI to engage in effective national level political campaigning in its bid to secure fair transitional pension arrangements for the all women born in the 1950s who have been affected by changes to their State Pension Age.

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd (JRRT) supports political campaigns in the UK to promote democratic reform, civil liberties and social justice. 

Jane Cowley, Fundraising Director of WASPI said, “We are enormously grateful that JRRT have given us these funds which will cover the expenses of our political campaign for the next six months. Having this funding means that we can get the support we need to get our point of view heard by decision makers at government level.”
SUPPORT FROM UNISON

Over the past months we've been working with Gloria Mills MBE, National Secretary Equalities, UNISON & President, European Trade Union Confederation Women’s Committee. We’re now delighted to let you all know that UNISON have pledged support for WASPI at national level. ​This is accompanied by a generous and considerable financial donation to go towards the campaign's running costs as well as practical support at local branch level.

APPG Formation
WASPI TAKES ADVICE FROM LEADING QC

WASPI have had a constructive conference with their legal counsel and are now taking the next steps in their potential legal challenge whilst at the same time pursuing maladministration complaints to the DWP regarding the changes in state pension age for women born in the 1950s.

Advice was given by leading QCs John Turner and Gerry Facenna, supported by rising legal star Daisy Mackersie, instructed by Bindmans, on the next steps in their potential challenge.
WASPI Legal Director Susan Beevers commented: “We had a very helpful discussion with counsel and are pleased that we shall be taking the next steps in the legal process.  As I am sure our supporters will understand, I cannot provide further detailed information, as that information is legally privileged and it would be harmful to our case to reveal it at this stage.  We will, of course, provide further details as soon as we are able.”
 
Work is ongoing and it is not expected that there will be a further update on the potential judicial review challenge until late January at the earliest, although support for making the maladministration claims to the DWP should be issued earlier in the New Year.
VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED
   
We have a great new team working really hard to push the campaign forward.  We now need to complement our team by recruiting additional volunteers to help us with important activity over the following months. 

To us, your time is priceless. Whether you can volunteer for a few hours every so often or a regular weekly shift, you’ll play a crucial part in keeping your Campaign progressing. Find out more here
APPG Formation
WASPI NOT GOING AWAY!
    
The WASPI campaign gaining remarkable attention from the success of the local group demonstrations and events right across the country on Friday 16 September. There have been articles on radio, TV and in the papers in all regions.

Perhaps not surprisingly in the fact of this widespread support, Richard Harrington, the pensions minister, felt he needed to make a statement to the effect that the government was not diverting from its usual line of “no plans to revisit the arrangements”.
Sadly for him, it’s clear from the response on social media that this statement has only served to stiffen the resolve and determination of WASPI women to continue their fight for a fair resolution to the pensions debacle.​​

In fact, the government must now begin to see how isolated it is becoming on this issue.  Over 30 local and county councils have passed resolutions in support of WASPI, often with Conservative councillors voting in favour too.  Many Conservative MPs have joined the All Party Parliamentary Group and WASPI local groups continue to work hard to persuade other Tory MPs to support the campaign.
 
We recently saw the Scottish National Party launch a piece of research they had commissioned regarding the costs of making fair pension arrangements for 1950s women.  This was aimed only at putting right the failings of the 2011 Pensions Act, and thus fell short of the aim of the WASPI campaign, which is for a fair outcome for all women affected by both the 1995 and 2011 Acts.  However, it was a useful first step in showing the Government that, despite their statements to the contrary, money is available in the National Insurance Fund for 1950s women’s pensions and that they have been mistaken in their calculations as to how much various solutions could cost.
 
The number of local WASPI groups continues to grow and they are making a very positive difference to the impact and reach of the campaign.  Women out and about on the National Day of Local Action on the 16th September received thousands of signatures for a petition which was handed in to Parliament on the 11th October and they continue to raise awareness through a whole range of different local initiatives.
 
WASPI has chosen Bindmans to represent them in pursuing a legal challenge, funded via our  crowdjustice appeal. 


Building the new Strategy Group is nearly complete, and again, more information about the structure and format of the group will be with you in the near future.
 
Letters to to the DWP are continuing, with a view to making a formal complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman once the DWP’s complaint procedure is exhausted.  Legal advice is being sought before the next letter in the series is sent, to ensure that all the bases are covered properly.
 
These are exciting times for the WASPI campaign.  WASPI is the only campaigning group which supports all 1950s women, whatever their date of birth.  Perhaps because of this, the number of our supporters is growing every week and we now have just short of over 47,000 people following the Facebook page: far more than any other group.