WASPI campaigners continue their pensions fight

The Berwick WASPI group was well represented at the protest at the Houses of Parliament earlier this year.
The Berwick WASPI group was well represented at the protest at the Houses of Parliament earlier this year.

Women fighting for a fairer deal on their pensions are hoping to add the support of the county council to that of their MP.

A motion is going before next Wednesday’s full meeting of Northumberland County Council calling on members to support the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign and to urge the Government to introduce fair transitional arrangements.

The movement aims to highlight the hardship and unfairness suffered by women born in the 1950s, on or after April 6, 1951, as a result of alterations to the state pension age and, in particular, the lack of notice.

WASPI does not object to the increase in the women’s SPA, not does it want to repeal the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts, but represents a cohort of women who have been unfairly disadvantaged by the speed of the increase, compounded by the absence of notice provided by successive governments.

Referring to the council motion, Jane Cowley, a founder member of the Berwick constituency WASPI group, said: “We’re very pleased that it’s going ahead and looking forward to them supporting us, as have over 30 councils nationwide.

“Their support gives a clear message to the Government that there is a growing groundswell of support throughout the country and that councils of different political persuasions are getting behind WASPI.”

The Northumberland group held an event with Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Alnwick on Friday, at which there was standing room only. The ‘extremely successful meeting’ heard from a number of women who had been ‘really adversely affected’ by the changes.

“Anne-Marie was very supportive and we are pleased to have her support,” said Jane. “She is one of a number of Conservative MPs backing WASPI and she indicated she would be able to support us in Parliament.”

Names are being collected on another petition – a previous online petition of almost 200,000 signatures led to a debate in Parliament – which will be handed to Mrs Trevelyan at the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

The Tory MP said: “It was fantastic to have another productive meeting with the Northumberland WASPI ladies – they know they have my support – and I will continue to work with colleagues across the House of Commons to support WASPI in its bid to formulate a viable alternative plan for Government.

“I am planning to present their petition to Parliament once the House of Commons returns next month.”

Meanwhile, Jane said that WASPI has been discussing litigation options with a London firm of lawyers, who indicated there were prospects of success.