Posted: Fri 8th Mar 2024

Senedd: UK Government accused of dragging its feet over WASPI campaign

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The UK Government has been accused of continuing to drag its feet on ensuring women born in the 1950s receive pension equality.

Thirty campaigners from the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group were in the public gallery as the issue was raised in the Senedd on March 6.

The campaign was launched amid concerns about the way in which women’s state pension age was increased from 60 to 66 in line with men.

Millions of women saw their retirement plans plunged into chaos after they were given little to no notice of the change, causing financial hardship for many.

Delyth Jewell, Plaid Cymru’s deputy leader, raised their plight during questions to Mick Antoniw, who is counsel general, the Welsh Government’s chief legal adviser.

‘Scandal’

She told the chamber: “The 1950s-born women denied their state pensions still await justice. I suggested to you last year that Waspi also stands for ‘Waiting and Still Pleading for Integrity’. They should not still be waiting.

“It’s a scandal that the UK Government has dragged its feet for so long that women have died before getting the money they’re owed, and they are due financial redress.

“I hope, I trust that the ombudsman will recommend awarding payments of the highest level possible but Westminster has the final say, so I’d urge you please to maintain pressure at this critical time.”

Ms Jewell added: “Any proposal to pay these women off with a sum that’s less than what they’re owed would go against the Equality Act 2010 and would flout international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”

Compensation

Mr Antoniw said he has written to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, which has been investigating the way state pension age changes were introduced.

Calling for the matter to be expedited, he said: “We’ve had a response, and, of course, the issue is still being considered by the ombudsman. We’ll continue to monitor what is happening and continue to make, where appropriate, representations.

“In respect of the issue of the compensation that I think we all feel is due and would be just, there should be two things.

“Firstly, all the women who’ve been affected should be compensated for the specific economic loss that they have suffered.

“They should also be compensated for the impact this has had on their lives.”

Justice

He added: “I doubt whether there is anyone in this chamber who doesn’t know someone who has been affected and who isn’t concerned about it, so extensive has been the impact.”

In 2021, the ombudsman published a report finding maladministration in the way the Department for Work and Pensions communicated the changes.

The Waspi campaign group says more than 260,000 women impacted by the state pension changes have died since the fight for justice began in 2015.

Mr Antoniw stressed the importance of posthumous payments, saying: “So many people have passed away before seeing any form of justice or rectification for what has happened.

“It is important that that is recognised and the estates of those people and their families also see that justice is delivered for those who are no longer here to receive that.”

By Chris Haines, ICNN Senedd reporter

Picture: Delyth Jewell MS joins campaigners on the Senedd steps

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
Latest News

  • Plans for 25-bedroom dementia unit at a Flintshire care home given green light.
  • Former landlord of Deeside pub sentenced to 24 years in prison for rape and sexual assault
  • Lidl set to open new Connah’s Quay store in December

  • More...

    Plans for 25-bedroom dementia unit at a Flintshire care home given green light.

    News

    Former landlord of Deeside pub sentenced to 24 years in prison for rape and sexual assault

    News

    Lidl set to open new Connah’s Quay store in December

    News

    Boss of Deeside based Iceland Foods set to run London Marathon in memory of his mother

    News

    Senedd rejects mandatory Outdoor Education Bill for Welsh schools

    News

    UK shoppers misled by some origin labelling on food in supermarkets, claims Which?

    News

    Survey shows strong support for schools’ role in children and young people’s health and wellbeing

    News

    Give young people nicotine patches and gum to help them quit vaping, says PHW

    News

    Almost one in five people in Wales waiting to start NHS treatment

    News