Since my last update on 13 May, the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) APPG has continued its active lobbying of government to push for fair transitional arrangements for women affected by changes included in the 2011 Pensions Act. With around 3,260 women in Bromley and Chislehurst included in this tranche, I appreciate how big an issue this is for many people locally – including friends and loved ones of the women involved - and I have therefore made every effort to attend all of the events organised to date.
The mass demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on 29 June, attended by thousands of supporters, was a huge success in raising the profile of the campaign. The APPG’s follow-up meeting on 19 July was arranged to kick start a discussion about what the Group’s next steps should be, to assess the options that have been suggested as transitional arrangements, and to decide a date to present the WASPI paper petitions to Parliament.
I have attached the minutes of the meeting below. As you will see, the Group will now seek a cross-party meeting with the new Work and Pensions Secretary, Damian Green, and with an almost entirely new team of Ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will be looking to table a further debate in September. This will ensure focus remains on the task at hand.
A number of options were discussed by the Group as potential transitional arrangements, and the pros and cons of the main ones were all explored in the excellent report published in March by the Work and Pensions Committee: Communication of state pension age changes:
It was decided that Tuesday 11 October would be the best day on which to present the petition, and from what I understand the WASPI campaign is currently organising a number of further actions for its supporters in the interim, including a mass mailing to the DWP and a national day of local action. Their website is full of useful templates, handouts and suggestions, and I would certainly recommend having a look: