'Hugely disappointing!' Waspi women hit back at Labour's failure to commit to state pension compensation

Sir Keir Starmer at manifesto launch and Waspi campaigners

The Waspi campaign is "really disappointed" with the Labour leader's failure to commit to a payout for women born in the 1950s

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 13/06/2024

- 13:30

An investigation recommended women born in the 1950s affected by changes to the state pension should be awarded thousands of pounds in compensation

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign has hit back at Sir Keir Starmer after his failure to commit to compensation for millions of women across the UK during the Labour Party's manifesto launch.

This morning, the Official Opposition announced its plans for Government with campaigners referring to it as "hugely disappointing" for those impacted by historic changes to the state pension.

In 2021, the Parliament and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) determined the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was guilty of "maladministration" over its handling of the retirement age's equalisation between men and women.

Some 3.8 million women are believed to not have been adequately informed by the change which affected their ability to save and prepare appropriately for life in retirement.

The PHSO recommended a Level 4 amount of compensation to Waspi women back in March, which comes to between £1,000 and £2,950, but this is significantly less than the £10,000 many campaigners had hoped for.

As well as this, the ombudsman called on MPs to vote on the payout amount in Parliament but both Labour and the Conservative Party have not committed to a set figure in either of their manifestos.

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

Angela Madden, Waspi's chair, cited the wider support for the plight of women born in the 1950s by the wider Labour Party and urged Sir Keir to listen to their voices on this issue.

She explained: "Despite overwhelming support from Labour parliamentary candidates across the country, it is hugely disappointing to see the Party row back on their previous commitments to delivering fair and fast compensation in today's manifesto announcement.

"Waspi has long enjoyed the backing of the majority of shadow cabinet members, and indeed the Leader of the Opposition himself.

"Despite warm words over many years, those who once claimed to be our biggest champions have now abandoned us at the last minute. But those who once claimed to be our biggest champions now seem to have forgotten us despite making promises to victims of other scandals.

"With millions of affected women carefully considering how to cast their votes in the coming weeks, there is still time for Labour to reconfirm its support for those who have been so badly let down by the Conservatives."

During this election campaign, both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have pledged their support for Waspi compensation.

Despite not putting forward a payout, the Tories did reference the issues raised by campaigners in their manifesto which Labour did not include.

In the Conservative manifesto, the party stated: "We are carefully considering the Ombudsman report into WASPI women and will work with Parliament to provide an appropriate and swift response."

As well as this, the Tories have floated introducing the "triple lock plus" if they remain in power, which would see tax allowances rise every year.

Labour has ruled this policy out but has committed to keeping the state pension triple lock, which determines the annual rate hike for payments.


Pensioner worried

Millions of women have been impacted by historic changes to the state pension age


Under the triple lock, pension payments are increased by either the rate of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.

In its manifesto, Labour added: "We will also adopt reforms to workplace pensions to deliver better outcomes for UK savers and pensioners.

"Our pensions review will consider what further steps are needed to improve security in retirement, as well as to increase productive investment in the UK economy."

GB News has contacted the Labour Party for comment.

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