MP decides not to sign WASPI pledge

The WASPI group with Bill Grant MP.
The WASPI group with Bill Grant MP.

Bill Grant Conservative MP for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock met with WASPI women from his constituency who were born in the 1950s.

The women have had their state pension age changed by the implementation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension acts.

The WASPI group (Women Against State Pension Inequality) shared their, and fellow Waspi’s stories and how they have been affected by these changes and the lack of notice they were given, had they known at the time of both pension acts, they would have been able to make alternative arrangements.

The MP heard stories of women who are now need to sell their family homes, women relying on their families to subsidise them to be able to buy food, women who have developed mental health issues over their impoverished situation as a result of this injustice.

Despite this, the MP would not agree to sign the WASPI pledge to support WASPI women and to work in Parliament to find a solution for the women affected.

There are 4750 women affected in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock which is Bill Grant MPs constituency.

A statement by the group said: “WASPI are not against equality, we agree with this.

“Our complaint is not being informed of the 1995 Pension Act until at least 14 years or later, and some cases not being informed at all. Women in Ayrshire WASPI have never received letters regarding the 2011 Pension act which accumulates to an extra six years wait on a state pension that they have paid into since they were 15 years old.

“Therefore the basis of our complaint is Maladministration by DWP. The Conservative party continually state the Scottish Government should sort this out, but the reality is that under section 28 of the Scotland act they do not have the power to pay state pensions. The other factor is that they paid their National Insurance to Westminster therefore Westminster should pay them their state pension or agree to transitional payments.”

Bill Grant MP said: “It was essential that I heard the concerns of the Ayrshire WASPI group. And I took away from the meeting important inquiries for which I will seek answers. I share the WASPI aspiration of achieving a fair outcome in pensions for all UK citizens. And I also share the UK government aim of securing a sustainable state pension. If I can raise issues to help redress inequality, I certainly will. However, I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to sign the WASPI pledge at this meeting.

“I have noted that some other politicians are using their signing of the WASPI pledge as a political statement - basically a stick to beat the government. I didn’t think it was fitting for such an important meeting to end in this way. The Government has previously made a concession worth £1.1 billion that will reduce the impact on women most affected by pension changes.”