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WASPI WOMEN BETRAYED BY LABOUR AND THE TORIES

Last week I secured and led a debate on the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman report on women born in the 1950s.


A long-time campaigner alongside WASPI - Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign I pressed the UK Government to compensate a generation of women who had their state pension age raised with little or no notice.


WASPI women had retirement plans entirely disrupted, with many left in financial distress as their retirement was stolen from them.


Across the UK, 3.8 million women were impacted, 336,000 in Scotland and 6,940 in North Ayrshire & Arran constituency.


After five long years, on 12 March the Ombudsman’s report utterly vindicated WASPI campaigners, highlighting that the Department of Work and Pensions’ failure to communicate “negatively affected complainants’ sense of personal autonomy and control over their finances” and that the DWP “did not adequately investigate and respond to complaints.”


Nevertheless, the DWP “will not take steps to put things right” which the Ombudsman found “unacceptable,” urging the UK Government to swiftly compensate these women, adding that “A failure to comply with the Ombudsman’s recommendations represents a constitutional gap in protecting citizens’ rights who have been failed by a public body and ensuring access to justice.”


In last week’s debate, the SNP and backbenchers from all parties urged the UK Tory Government to finally do the right thing and compensate the women impacted.


Unfortunately, both the Tory Minister and Labour Shadow Minister continued to defiantly reject even the principle of compensating women who were so unjustly treated.


For years, Labour MPs and MSPs have posed for photographs with WASPI campaigners, and yet, at the very moment when WASPI has been fully vindicated, their supposed support has melted away.


Indeed, in early May Labour and Tory MSPs shamefully abstained in a Scottish Parliament vote which backed compensation for WASPIs on the orders of their London bosses.


Sir Keir Starmer has decided WASPI women are expendable. This, despite a special law being passed at Westminster just for him; The Pensions Increase (Pension Scheme for Keir Starmer QC) Regulations 2013. His personal pension is protected whilst a generation of women have been robbed of theirs. It’s literally one law for him and another for WASPI women. Meanwhile around 280,000 women across the UK have died awaiting justice.


Labour has form in abandoning women, particularly working-class women, having spent £2.5million of taxpayers’ money fighting equal pay claims by female council workers for over 10 years in Glasgow - denying equality for dinner ladies, cleaners and those working in social care. Thankfully, the SNP took over Glasgow City Council, dropped the legal action and equal pay claims were settled quickly.


Labour has learned nothing about treating women treated fairly and equally, as its abandonment of WASPI women shows. I and my Scottish National Party (SNP) colleagues will not abandon them.


The WASPI women’s mantra is “Not Going Away”. Nor should they. Grandmothers, mothers and sisters, every family will have someone who was impacted. I continue to campaign alongside and for them. Justice is on their side.


ENDS



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