STATE PENSION: Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has won a majority the General Election 2019. Following the result, WASPI has reacted to the news. What does it mean for women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the state pension age changes?
The General Election 2019 took place yesterday, with the results beginning to come in overnight – seeing the Conservative Party secure a majority. Following the result, state pension age changes campaigners Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have responded to the news.
A spokesperson for WASPI said: “WASPI has always maintained a non-political stance and we remain committed to working across political parties to find a solution to this ongoing injustice.
“We look forward to working with new and existing MPs and raising this critical issue with them.
“We will also continue to hold the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to account in pledging to revisit the WASPI question.
“Regardless of the General Election result, politicians can rest assured that WASPI women are not going away.”
The state pension age was previously 60 for women and 65 for men, but under the Pensions Act 1995 and the Pensions Act 2011, it increased, reaching 65 in line with men back in November last year.
Now, the state pension age is rising for both men and women.
While the WASPI campaign supports the principle of equalisation of the state pension age, it does not agree with the way in which the changes were implemented, arguing they were not given sufficient notice about the changes.
During Conservative Party hustings earlier this year, Boris Johnson is said to have told WASPI campaigners he would “commit to doing everything I possibly can to sorting out” the issue, but did not make a firm commitment.
According to Gloucestershire Live, Mr Johnson also said: “I have made several representations already on behalf of my own constituents who fall into this category.
“And I must say the answer I’ve got back from the Treasury is not yet satisfactory.
“But I will undertake – if I’m lucky enough to succeed in this campaign – to return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out.
“Because I’m conscious it’s been going on for too long.”
In November 2019, Mr Johnson was asked about the matter during an episode of the BBC show Question Time.
He replied: “Well the WASPI issue as everybody knows is a very difficult problem caused by change in the pension age for women who have retired of a certain age and I do sympathise deeply with the position of the WASPI women.
“And we have looked at it and looked at it and I would love to magic you a solution but it is very expensive to come up with the solution that you want.
“And I’m going to be honest with you tonight, I cannot promise that I can magic up that money for you tonight.
“All of the demands that the WASPI women make. We’re going to look at it but it is not possible to satisfy all the demands of the WASPI women.
“I’m going to put my hands up and confess that.”
Ahead of the General Election 2019, a number of parties addressed their position on support for the women affected by the state pension age.
The Labour Party pledged to compensate almost 3.8million women, to the tune of £58billion.
In the Labour Party manifesto, the pledge read: “Under the Tories, 400,000 pensioners have been pushed into poverty and a generation of women born in the 1950s have had their pension age changed without fair notification.
“This betrayal left millions of women with no time to make alternative plans – with sometimes devastating personal consequences.
“Labour recognises this injustice, and will work with these women to design a system of recompense for the losses and insecurity they have suffered.
“We will ensure that such an injustice can never happen again by legislating to prevent accrued rights to the state pension from being changed.”
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats said they would “ensure that the women born in the 1950s are properly compensated for the failure of government to properly notify them of changes to the state pension age, in line with the recommendations of the parliamentary ombudsman.”
The Green Party also showed support, proposing to phase in the Universal Basic Income (UBI) with “the first tranche of people to receive it being women born in the 1950s”.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) also referred to the state pension age increases in their 2019 manifesto.
The pledge read: “We will always protect the Triple Lock, ensuring that pensions continue to rise by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whatever is highest.
“We will oppose any increase to the state pension age.
“We will also continue to support the WASPI campaign, and fight to reverse the cut to Pension Credit and demand that the government re-instates the free TV licence for all over-75s.”
Regardless of the General Election result, politicians can rest assured that WASPI women are not going away