12 Nov Douglas Chapman MP Stands with WASPI Women
Member of Parliament for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, has uncovered some alarming facts about the way the UK Government is handling complaints from WASPI women, with some complaints taking well over a year to be examined. Douglas is supporting Dunfermline woman Vivienne Coats who was given notice that her pension age was being increased from 60 to 65 after she had already taken early retirement. Vivienne submitted a complaint about the lack of she was notice given in July 2017 and is still awaiting a final response.
The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign was formed to fight for the women affect by a law introduced in 1995 which increased women’s state pension age from 60 to 66 between 2010 and 2020. This meant that women born in the 1950s onwards would reach retirement age later than they had planned, with many women not being given proper notice of this change by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
Douglas Chapman MP said “The WASPI campaign is not about opposing the equalisation of the state pension age itself, rather these women object to the frankly contemptuous way they have been treated by the Government. Vivienne is one of many women who have rightfully lodged a formal complaint to the DWP to express her deep dissatisfaction with the utterly incompetent approach the UK Government has taken to notifying her of this change. That she has had to wait over 14 months and counting for a response is completely unacceptable.
“My written questions to the Government have now revealed that all WASPI women like Vivienne who have elevated their complaint to the Independent Case Examiner’s (ICE) office are facing a long wait while ICE’s caseload has increased by 250%, no additional resources have been allocated to dealing with them.
“Prior to the launch of the WASPI campaign in 2015 the ICE Office were dealing with between 1100 and 1200 complaints each year. At the end of August 2018, the ICE Office had 3,192 live complaints from WASPI women. Yet last year only 150 cases were completed/closed.
“With just three existing Case Managers assigned to examining WAPSI complaints and no plans to increase this, these women, who are guilty of nothing, are being doubly let down by the UK Government. I have written to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions requesting an urgent meeting to urge her to rectify this injustice as soon as possible.”
Vivienne Coats a constituent of Douglas’ took early retirement in 2010 when she was 56 and was looking forward to receiving her state pension a short 4 years later but when she found out she would have to wait 9 years in all to receive this she was devastated.
Vivienne said “I felt like I was up against the Government, a woman alone, that’s why I contacted Douglas. I am a proud independent woman but I am having to rely on my husband to support me financially. I feel like this is all really depressing and disrespectful that the UK Government will not respond to my complaint. I think this is a delaying tactic.”
“I feel really strongly about the fact I am being deprived of something I was entitled too. The WASPI Women, like me, are not going to give in”.
Mhairi Black MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Pensions said:
“Like my colleague Douglas Chapman, I have had many WASPI women attend my surgeries since being elected in 2015. These women have shared stories of hardship, ruined plans for later life, and a significant fear about what the future will bring. The Government have stubbornly continued to refuse to take any action, clearly hoping that the issue will fade into obscurity.
“The issue and the women affected, however, have no plans to back down. While more and more women raise complaints with the DWP every day, it is a dereliction of duty for the Government to refuse to place any additional Case Managers into the small ICE team currently dealing with WASPI complaints.
“The Government could end the need for complaints to ICE altogether, however, if they simply admitted their mistake and brought forward a fair solution for these women.”