NEWS
CELEBRATIONS!! WASPI MEMBERSHIP IS BEING LAUNCHED THIS WEEK!

Membership - You have secured a year’s membership of Women Against State Pension Inequality Ltd providing you forwarded your receipt for a donation of £25 or more to CrowdJustice or PayPal and correctly sent that receipt to waspimembers@gmail.com .
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Those who have sent the receipt should expect a 'RENEWAL' email by Saturday, which is how Membership will be started up - on the system it is easiest to send a 'renewal' with the link - but then follow the emailed link through and fill in the gaps on application form. Your name and email address will be there from your receipt email.

Membership is from 1 Dec 2016 to 30 Nov 2017.

Anyone who would like to join who did not secure membership through a previous donation will be able to join from Friday, when the link will be shared.

Thanks to everyone!

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WASPI THREE MONTHS ON
 
The last three months – what has Women Against State Pension Inequality achieved?
 
  • We have raised £100,000 in record time for our legal challenge to the government and easily smashed our stretch target.
  • We have increased the number of our Facebook supporters by a quarter: we now have 49,000 supporters and the number is increasing by around 500 each week at present.

  • We have formed a properly constituted company limited by guarantee.  This enables us to take legal action.
   
  • We are still raising money for the campaign and legal challenge via direct donations through PayPal on our website.

  • We have appointed Bindmans, the top London law firm, to act for us in our legal challenge to the government.

  • We have brought on board over 80 local and county councils who now support WASPI

  • We handed in the largest public petition presented to Parliament on any one day, in terms of both time it took to get presented (25 minutes) and the number of constituencies represented (206).

  • Our local groups (145 in Britain and 1 in France) have worked tirelessly to support us and gained great publicity for the campaign on the National Day of Local Action in September.

  • We made ourselves heard in no uncertain terms at the Party conferences.

  • We have met with Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Ministers, as well as key SNP MPs.

  • We have spoken at numerous union conferences around the country.

  • We have spoken at the House of Commons Petitions Committee Conference and were congratulated on the strength of our campaign by the Committee chair.

And what’s planned for the next three months?
 
  • Increased, targeted lobbying of MPs to persuade them to help us to get justice.  Support packs will be made available to local groups to assist them with this.

  • Continued lobbying of members of the House of Lords.

  • Social media and public speaking training for our group coordinators.

  • Progressing with our legal challenge and updating supporters whenever there is news.

  • The launch of our membership scheme with a database of members.

  • Election of members to a Membership Committee and the Board of Women Against State Pension Inequality Ltd.

  • Applications to grant making bodies for campaign funds.

  • A closer working relationship with the TUC.

  • Continued fundraising for our campaign and legal challenge at both local and national level.

  • An even better website.
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
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WASPI DISAPPOINTED IN LACK OF HELP IN AUTUMN STATEMENT

Today Philip Hammond the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed to announce in his Autumn statement anything that would assist with the injustice experienced in State Pension provision for 1950s born women.

Once again the Government has missed the chance to intervene in this serious matter.

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He announced that pensioner poverty was falling, but has omitted to take account of all those women who would have been pensioners but aren't due to changes in their State Pension Age.  These women have been left in poverty by a lack of notice of their state pension age changes, causing up to a six year loss of income, without sufficient time or assistance to make alternative plans. 
 
Many of the WASPI women are not even Just About Managing but are living in real poverty.  Other political parties are now beginning to recognise this real injustice and are bringing forward suggestions that would at least partially alleviate some of the suffering of this group of women.  It is a great shame that the Chancellor did not take this opportunity to do likewise.
 
WASPI will continue to campaign for redress for all 1950s women both by engaging with politicians and through our legal challenge.

WASPI TAKES FIRST STEPS IN LEGAL ACTION

Our first meeting with Bindmans was just to discuss how to proceed with the maladministration complaints. Further information will follow in due course about the potential Judicial Review.
    
Having raised £100,000 on Crowdjustice in under three weeks, Women Against State Pension Inequality has begun seeking legal advice on potential challenges to the Government.
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Directors of the recently formed company met with their legal advisers, top London law firm Bindmans, last week to take advice on how best to proceed with maladministration complaints to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Following this meeting, Bindmans will be preparing a Guide which will help the 2.6 million women affected to make and pursue complaints to the DWP regarding its failure to give adequate notice of the rise to their State Pension Age by up to six years. It is intended to be of help to those who have already begun the complaints process to continue on through to the Parliamentary Ombudsman as well as those who are yet to get started.
 
The easy to follow guide is expected to be available in January and all those women who are part way through the complaints process are advised to consider holding off continuing until it is available unless that will otherwise take them beyond any relevant deadlines.
 
Women Against State Pension Inequality's Legal Director Susan Beevers said: 
 
"It can be quite daunting for many women to raise a complaint against the DWP - the process is not straightforward and explaining the maladministration that has occurred over the past two decades and its significant impact can feel overwhelming. This guide will be an enormous help to them, as well as ensuring that the complaint letters they send cover all the right points."
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WESTMINSTER HALL DEBATE

Ian Blackford of the SNP led a robust debate in Westminster Hall on the 15th November on the subject “Acceleration of the State Pension Age for Women born in the 1950s”.

This was a debate with a non binding vote which means that even if the motion is passed it does not become law. You can view the debate here
Once again MP’s well represented the injustice done to 50s born women in considerable detail giving examples of their constituents circumstances. A robust case was made for righting this wrong.

A vote was taken and agreed that “the House had considered the motion” but this was challenged by the SNP and the Chairman announced that it would be referred to the Backbench Business Committee. They have the authority to put motions forward for debate in the main chamber - The House of Commons.


While WASPI appreciate the very great lengths the SNP are going to on behalf of WASPI women, they have also made it clear that a reversal of the 2011 Act, which will only benefit a small cohort of women, does not go far enough for our campaign. The SNP understand fully our position on this but are confident that this could be a start to that process.

WASPI SMASHES CROWDJUSTICE STRETCH TARGET - £100,000 FIGHTING FUND NOW RAISED
                 
In what must be one of the fastest growing CrowdJustice appeals ever, The Official WASPI Campaign has raised £100,000 for its legal action against the Government.

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Its first target of £50,000 was reached within 24 hours and, with 10 days of fundraising still to run, WASPI has now asked CrowdJustice to close the appeal at £100,000.
 
With the funding already making its way to Bindmans, the top London law firm representing the Official WASPI Campaign, Jane Cowley, Fundraising Director said: “Women Against State Pension Inequality Ltd wants to thank each and every person who has donated to the fund. It’s inspiring to know that we have such a huge level of support and a real validation of our decision to pursue a legal case”.
 
WASPI is protesting about the way changes were made to women’s state pension ages in the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts.   The changes were made to equalise men's and women's pension ages and WASPI supports this goal.
 
The Campaign is fighting for recognition and recompense for the unfair and discriminatory way the changes were implemented – with wholly inadequate engagement and with no proper time given to make alternative plans. WASPI estimates that 1950s women have lost up to £40,000 due to the changes and many are now in financial hardship.  
 
The campaign now plans to use the funding to pursue one or more legal challenges to the government. WASPI’s lawyers have identified two potential means of legal redress for women affected by the changes to the State Pension Age:

  • a judicial review challenge (or challenges) to the legality of the changes themselves;
  • maladministration complaints regarding the wholly inadequate engagement undertaken by the Department of Work and Pensions regarding these changes.
Alongside its legal campaign, WASPI continues to engage with politicians from all parties.  Its leaders recently met with MPs from the Scottish National Party and discussed with Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Ministers how the Labour Party could support the WASPI cause.
 
WASPI’s many local groups are making themselves heard in Tory marginal seats up and down the country and there is a growing awareness that 2.6 million 1950s women’s votes could make a big difference at the next election.
 
With two former Pensions Ministers, Steve Webb and Baroness Altmann now publicly pledging their support, with over 47,500 people following the Official WASPI Facebook page and with £100,000 fighting fund raised in less than three weeks, WASPI is a force to be reckoned with. 
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WOMEN AGAINST STATE PENSION INEQUALITY LTD


WASPI are now a company limited by guarantee. This action was taken as WASPI needed to have what is called a "legal entity" in order to be able to instruct lawyers and pursue litigation. This has been done by registering WASPI at Companies House under the name above.
WASPI has a board of unpaid directors who are:- Celia Johnson, Pat Tarttelin, Susan Beevers, Jane Cowley and Anne Keen. Further appointments are expected to be made to the board. Watch this space.
PAPER PETITION

On Tuesday 11 October 2016, 198 public petitions were presented and read in the Chamber by 87 MPs, representing 198 constituencies. It took 25 minutes!

WASPI have since been informed that our petition:- “The Implementation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts petition (part of the WASPI campaign)” is the largest public petition presented to Parliament on any one day, since Session 2000-01.
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This is in terms of both time it took to get presented and the number of constituencies represented. Yet another incredible achievement in our campaign.​

In addition to those presented on 11th October other petitions were received by Parliament from Derbyshire South and Derby North, New Forest West, Chester, Christchurch, South Middlesbrough and East Cleveland, Portsmouth.

Thanks to all involved for the determination and hard work in making this happen and thanks again to all MP’s who presented the petitions.

You can see the list of petitions presented here .

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.
WASPI STATEMENT ON THE RECENT SNP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUPPORT FOR 1950S WOMEN. 

The WASPI campaign were pleased to be invited to the launch of an important report commissioned by the SNP in the fight for justice for 1950s born women who have had their State Pension age (SPA) changed on a rapid timetable, with little or no notice, shattering many retirement plans.​

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The interim team were invited with less than 24 hours notice before the launch and did not have sight of the report until they were on the train to London. In fact, consideration was given as to whether it was worthwhile going at all, since the content of the report was not known beforehand, but it was felt on balance it would be best to have representatives there to comment and influence.
 
Pat Tarttelin, a member of the WASPI interim management team, said, “WASPI is clear that the women affected should have better SPA transition arrangements, and that the Government must start to listen. The plans of the SNP to hold the Government to account by supporting the repealing of the 2011 Act are a great first step in removing barriers that the Government has repeatedly put in the way of a resolution. However, WASPI stand by their aim for fair transitional arrangements and want the Government to go further and recognise that the changes were too far too fast and with the DWP failure to communicate with those affected, there is a clear need now to deal with the problem and lessen the impact of both the Pension Acts, 1995 and 2011.”
 
WASPI have restructured their leadership and are preparing for an Autumn of action on many fronts, strengthened now by the SNP investment in costing options for a partial resolution.
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WASPI MAKING SOME NOISE

WASPI women up and down the country have been given the great of honour by being asked to speak at/presenting a workshop at numerous conferences. A testament to the respect and credibility of the WASPI Campaign.

WASPI on tour:
  • Anne Keen - Workshop at Labour's National Women's Conference in Liverpool on Saturday 24th September.

  • Lila Bennett - GMB Justice Campaign in Liverpool on Friday 7th October.

  • Patricia Clough - Midlands Women's TUC Conference on Wednesday 30th Sepember.

  • Lorna Binnie - SNP Conference Fringe meeting on the Friday 14th October

  • Lorna Binnie - Perth Concert Hall Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October.

  • Patricia Clough - TUC Midlands Equalities Conference and the Labour Regional Conference on 29th October.

  • Patricia Clough - Unison Women’s Conference in Cambridge on Tuesday 1st November
 
  • Heather Cook - Unison Women’s Conference in Cambridge on Tuesday 1st November.

  • Anne Keen, Hilary Dunn and Francesca EstasyGMB Women's Conference, The Liner Hotel, Liverpool on Friday 18th November.

  • Annie Beetham - WEP Conference Manchester 25th-27th November

There was a WASPI presence at both the Conservative Conference on Tuesday 4th October and at Labour Conference on Tuesday 27th September.
 
WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

DWP MASS ACTION​

Personal File Requests & Mass Mailing

See Action page for details
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WASPI ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP (APPG)

Minutes from the WASPI All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting which took place on the 19th July 2016!