Labour 'dithers and delays' over state pension payouts as one woman 'dies every 13 minutes', Waspi claims

Waspi campaigners and Rachel Reeves

Waspi campaigners are hitting back at Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 06/06/2024

- 11:36

Labour's Rachel Reeves has claimed there is no cash "set out" for state pension compensation to help Waspi women

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign are slamming the Labour Party for attempting to "dither and delay" on compensation for those impacted by historic pension changes as women born in the 1950s are "dying at a rate of one every thirteen minutes".

Campaigners have hit back at Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves after she asserted the Official Opposition have "not set out any money" for a payout proposal despite 3.6 million women being plunged into poverty by the Department for Work and Pension's (DWP) failures in equalising the state pension age.

In 2021, the Parliament and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) found the DWP guilty of "maladministration" as women across the country were adequately informed of the changes.

As a consequence of this error, millions of women are believed to have been at risk of having a worse-off retirement due to being unable to properly prepare their savings.

In March, the ombudsman recommended a Level 4 payout amount to those negatively impacted by this change to the state pension, which comes to anywhere between £1,000 and £2,950.

However, the PHSO noted that it was Parliament's responsibility to vote on any compensation for Waspi women with both Labour and the Conservative Party appearing to "dither and delay" in putting forward proposal.

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WASPI campiagnerCampaigners are calling on policymakers to do more for women born in the 1950s WASPI

During a press conference in Scotland, Reeves signaled that she remains sympathetic to those hurt financially hurt by the historic changes but stopped short of pledging a set payout.

Labour's Shadow Chancellor said: "I recognise that injustice…[but] we have not set out any money for this.”

Waspi campaigners have cited this appears to contradict the party's leader Sir Keir Starmer who previously said the PHSO's report would be responded to "at pace" if he wins power.

In an open letter to Reeves, activists are sounding the alarm that hundreds of thousands of women "feel badly let down" by Labour as it looks set to become the party of Government in a month's time.

Recent polling suggest that around 68 per cent of the British public believe hat successive governments got things wrong when it comes to the issues affecting Waspi women.

As such, the majority of Britons believe fair and fast compensation should now be paid to anyone left out of pocked by previous changes to the state pension age.

So far, the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Scottish National Party have all made pledges to make sure Waspi women are properly compensated.

Angela Madden, the campaign's chair, is urging Reeves to take productive action when it comes to addressing the issues raised by women born in the 1950s.

She said: "This has gone on long enough. While politicians dither and delay, the women affected are dying at a rate of one every thirteen minutes.

“There is no point in having an Ombudsman if governments – blue and red alike – are just going to ignore its recommendations. WASPI women have waited six long years for the outcome of his investigation and it vindicated us, demanding that compensation be paid."


Waspi campaigner and Keir Starmer at eventWaspi women may "not vote" for Labour, campaigners claim GETTY

“And Rachel Reeves surely can’t be saying a Labour government would just show wilful disregard for his conclusions. We are the sixth largest economy in the world and an independent watchdog has recommended compensation be paid, so money will have to be found.

“Imagine the outcry if anyone had said that victims of the Post Office and infected blood scandals would just have to lump it because the Treasury is short of cash.

"Waspi women have worked hard, looked after families and paid into the system all their lives. We deserve better from both the big parties.”

GB News has contacted the Labour Party for comment.

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