Dennis Skinner: ‘Tremendous’ Waspi women will not just go away, believe me


Dennis Skinner has warned the Government that women campaigning for compensation after accelerated changes to their state pension age “will not go away”.

The Labour MP for Bolsover has spoken in support of women who say they did not receive adequate notice of the change in their state pension age. They say they were unable to prepare financially for receiving their pension at an older age as a result. Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) claims nearly 3.8 million women were adversely affected.

Waspi has previously praised the Labour rebel nicknamed ‘the Beast of Bolsover’ for being “very supportive” of their campaign.

They just don’t go

“They are tremendous. They just won’t go away,” Mr Skinner, who marched alongside Waspi on May Day, told i.

“You have a lot of people with a cause which tends to be temporary and that you see for a year or two, and then they fade away, but not the Waspi women. The Waspi women just don’t go.”

Mr Skinner is also known for his refusal to fade away into the background after a 47-year political career marked by his tendency to challenge the opposition, fight for working class rights and cause “disruption” in the Commons.

An early day motion supporting Waspi has been signed by 191 MPs, more than any other EDM tabled since the June general election. Signatures come from MPs from all major parties, including Conservative MPs Sir Peter Bottomley and Gordon Henderson.

An EDM calls for a debate on an issue in Parliament but without setting a date. They are often used by MPs primarily as a way of drawing attention to the issue.

“That this House believes it has a moral duty to ensure that there is a fair transition for women born on or after 6 April 1951 regarding their pensions; recognises the need for a non-means tested bridging pension that will secure the financial stability of those affected by the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts and compensation for those at risk of losing in the region of £45,000, creating a fairer pension system for all; and calls on the Government to bring forward transitional arrangements to provide pension certainty for the women disproportionately affected by this system.

Meanwhile, a bill by the Waspi All Party Parliamentary Group sponsored by Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East and co-sponsored by nine other MPs including Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, was formally presented to Parliament on 7 September. The bill calls on the Government to review the current pension arrangements for disproportionately affected women.

Waspi says 20 Conservative MPs signed their pledge to support finding a solution for affected women in the run up to the general election and 37 expressed their support ahead of the election. It hopes cross-party support will put pressure the Government into considering transitional arrangements such as bridging pensions for affected women.

Waspi women play important part

Jane Cowley leads the Waspi campaign (Pic: WASPI)

Mr Skinner said Waspi women have a “very powerful” case. “I believe that a Labour government, had that election been a bit later in the year that it was, and we would have won, could have resolved the problem and ensured that the accelerated pace of change towards their new retirement age would have been altered.

“They’ll not go away – believe me. There are one or two in my constituency and they now play a very important role in the party as well. They didn’t before – but they do now.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said: “The decision to equalise the state pension age between men and women was made over 20 years ago and achieves a long-overdue move towards gender equality, something that is both fair and sustainable for future generations and in line with continuing rises in life expectancy.

“This was voted on in Parliament and previous Governments have legislated accordingly. All parties have agreed to the need to raise the pension age and have legislated to do that. There are no plans to change the transitional arrangements already in place.

“Women retiring today can still expect to receive the state pension for 26 years on average – which is more than any generation before them and several years longer than men.”

Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast is out in UK cinemas now 


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Dennis Skinner: ‘Tremendous’ Waspi women will not just go away, believe me

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