Anne Keen, one of the founders of WASPI, tells retiresavvy how the campaign has grown, its next steps, and keeping up the pressure on the government.
WASPI’s campaign to get what they say is a fair settlement for women born in the 1950s has struck a huge chord with retiresavvy readers.
We’ve had hundreds of comments on the site and social media, both for and against the campaign.
Here, Anne Keen, one of WASPI’s five founder members, gives retiresavvy an update on the campaign.
Retiresavvy: WASPI has grown massively since you helped set it up – are you surprised at all by its success/appeal with both women affected by the changes and politicians?
Anne Keen: No, we are not surprised at all by campaign’s success. It has been extremely hard work to get where we are, but tremendously rewarding.
We believe our success is a combination of effective campaigning – including media support – and the creation of a website, all of which has raised a greater awareness of our campaign.
Our National Demo in London on the 29th June was a resounding success with over 2,500 women (and men!) attending, as did countless MP’s from all parties.
We currently have over 110 Local Groups operating throughout the UK (plus one in France!) that are run by local women group co-ordinators. The work they are doing in raising and furthering the profile of the campaign is incredible.
Many have or are approaching their respective local councils who have passed a Council Motion in support of WASPI. To date, 25 councils have already passed this Motion, with many more in the pipeline.
The fact that a WASPI All Party Political Group (APPG) was formed in May is evidence enough that politicians agree that we have been unfairly treated and that the government must address this injustice.
The purpose of the APPG reflects the aim of WASPI: "To provide a cross-party forum in which to hold the government to account on the issue of transitional arrangements to compensate 1950s-born women who are affected by changes to the State Pension Age and to campaign on issues around the State Pension Age."
We have right on our side so the government must not – cannot – continue to ignore us. We will not go away!
Can you give us an update on the various bits of campaigning WASPI is up to, such as the legal challenge?
Anne Keen: We are exploring a number of ways of delivering a legal challenge and aim to make announcements shortly.
What is WASPI doing to keep up the pressure on the government?
Anne Keen: Besides working with supporting MPs, we have developed a strategy that includes numerous initiatives that will maintain pressure on the government. This includes highlighting the maladministration of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Working closely with the APPG is of paramount importance.
Does WASPI have a view on the idea of early access to the state pension on a reduced rate, as the Work & Pensions Committee suggested a few months ago?
Anne Keen: WASPI’s aim is about transitional arrangements and therefore we vehemently oppose the aforementioned option as do our loyal supporters. Whilst this option may appeal to some women, that is not the aim of our campaign.
Why would or should anyone accept a reduced pension when we have already been denied of thousands of pounds of what is rightfully theirs? And when I say thousands it can be anything up to £44,000!
That’s £44,000 of income women have planned for/expected to receive after working since they were 15!
Is there a WASPI view on what would fair transitional arrangements look like?
Anne Keen: WASPI’s view on fair transitional arrangements is this: “WASPI's aims are to achieve fair transitional pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s (after 6th April 1951).”
This translates into a 'bridging' pension to cover the gap from age 60 until State Pension Age – not means-tested and with compensation for losses for those women who have already reached their SPA. We do NOT ask for a reversal of any Pension Act to age 60.
The Campaign aims to achieve this for all women born in the 1950s (after 6th April 1951). There are no specific age groups within the period mentioned above that are favoured above others.
We are not asking for anything we are not entitled to. We have a fundamental right to what we’ve been promised all of our working lives – our State Pension.
The government say there is no money. This is a feeble excuse that compounds their contemptuous treatment of the women affected.
Retiresavvy is brought to you by Skipton Building Society. This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.