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'Not what we were asking for': Waspi rebuffs Labour's offer

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'Not what we were asking for': Waspi rebuffs Labour's offer

Labour's plan to allow women who have had their state pension age (SPA) pushed back to access their pensions two years early failed to impress the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign.

Waspi communications manager Debbie de Spon told New Model Adviser® at the Labour party conference that plans to allow women hit by the rise in SPA to 66 access a reduced state pension at 64 would not win the backing the group. 

'On the face of it is not what Waspi is asking for,' she said.   

'We are seeking a bridging pension for all women born in the 1950s ad settlement for women who have already reached the state pension age but have lost out.'

The Waspi campaign has long called for a transitional arrangement for women born after 6 April 1951, meaning they would get a bridging pension to cover the gap until the new SPA of 66.

Last year Waspi said it would not support Labour's proposal to extend pension credit to support women affected by the changes. 

De Spon was not the only person at the Labour conference to question the party's approach to SPA. Phil Brown, head of policy at LV=, said 'It is an interesting idea but I’m not sure it is a good idea'.

Speaking to New Model Adviser® Brown said Labour should consider how a more radical solution to the Wapsi problem. 

'There are ways we can address this but they need to be a bit braver and bolder than they are at the moment and not just play around the edges,' he said. 

'It feels like they are trying to get a knee jerk reaction: "we are going to try and get a headline and help the Waspi movement without really spending any money".'

Labour Party member Pat Turnbull was also critical of the offer of a reduced state pension. 

'I am a bit disturbed to see they should get a reduced pension. If that’s what they are proposing I think they should get their full pension from whatever age they are taking about. I think increasing the retirement age up for women in the first place for women was a bad idea,' she said.

'I retired at 60 and I am not sure what state my health would have been if I hadn’t retired at 60. I think it would be a good idea to get back to that.'

However, Turnball added: 'anything that makes it better for the women that were caught out by the dreadful rise in SPA is good'.

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