WASPI women in new push for SPA equality fairness

Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol.
Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol.

The Borders WASPI Women Against State Pension Inequality) movement continues to grow from strength to strength going by the well-attended members’ latest meeting on Sunday, February 11.

The group, which campaigns against the perceived unfairness against women born in the 1950s with the implementation of the equalisation of state pension age.

As the council’s older people’s champion, Councillor Elaine Thornton-Nicol was invited to the meeting as a guest.

She said: “Women from every corner of the Borders came to hear about WASPI, to find out how to sign up, what events are coming up and to hear about the process of informing the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that they had received no notification of the changes which are now having a massive impact on their lives.

“Some were unable to retire as planned, some retired and then discovered they had to wait up to six years to receive their state pension with no income.

“Every woman there agreed they had no issue with the equalising of the state retirement age, but with the way in which it has been mis-managed from the initial decision in 1995. One woman has worked out she is losing out on £48,000, and another missed the cut-off for change date by two days.

“I fully support the WASPI women in their fight to be treated fairly.”

WASPI is calling for fair pension arrangements for all, with a non-means-tested bridging pension, paid as a percentage of the full state pension and compensation to those already receiving their pension to cover the period between age 60 and their new SPA.

Borders organiser Lynne Craighead told us: “The ladies who attended the meeting divided into cluster groups to discuss their ideas for raising awareness and fundraising in their own towns.

“Ladies whose complaints have already been submitted to the DWP will meet with those just beginning the process in order to give advice and support.”

A spokesman for the DWP told The Southern: “We have thoroughly reviewed the options for equalising the State Pension age, and having listened to women’s concerns, made a £1.1 billion concession in the 2011 Pensions Act, capping the increase in the state pension age at 18 months, relative to the 1995 Act timetable.

“We are confident that we are doing the right thing to ensure the sustainability of the state pension for future generations.”

The next meeting for the group will be at 10.30am on Sunday, March 18, at the Newtown Community Wing.