The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign has dismissed the Labour Party’s means-tested solution for those women affected by rises in the state pension age (SPA), saying it is not what it is ‘asking for’.
The Waspi campaign is calling for ‘transitional arrangements’ for women born after 6 April 1951, meaning they would get a bridging pension to cover the gap until the new SPA of 66.
Jane Cowley, a member of the Waspi interim management team, wrote in New Model Adviser® earlier this month that this was the only solution the Waspi campaign would settle for.
Yesterday the Labour Party proposed its solution for the Waspi women, which set out that pension credit, a means-tested benefit, would be extended for some of the women affected.
This proposal, estimated to cost £860 million, would mean the ‘most vulnerable’ Waspi women would get £155 per week for around half a million women. Labour also said it is ‘developing solutions’ for those not entitled under this plan.
However Cowley, of the Waspi campaign, said this means-tested option with Pensions Credit is not what the campaign wants as it is pushing for re-dress for all those affected by the SPA rises.
‘We are pleased that the Labour Party has recognised that there is a problem, and we are delighted to note that they say that this is only a first step,’ she said. ‘It is, however, not what the official Waspi campaign is asking for. We maintain that all 1950s women have been impacted by this discrimination and maladministration and, as such, they all deserve redress.’
The Waspi campaign has launched a legal fight for its cause and has raised over £100,000 through a crowdfunding site for the challenge.
In a statement Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams called on the government to follow Labour’s example on the issue.
‘We call on the government to address the concerns that are being raised by thousands of women up and down the country by implementing our proposals. They must follow Labour’s lead and act immediately to minimise any further hardship.’
Speaking with New Model Adviser® at the Labour Conference in September, Abrahams emphasised her support for Waspi but did not give specific Labour policies on issues such as tax releif and the triple lock.