Solidarity in Gosport for the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign as council shows its support

WASPI campaigners outside the Gosport Town HallWASPI campaigners outside the Gosport Town Hall
WASPI campaigners outside the Gosport Town Hall
Gosport Borough Council has shown solidarity with the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

WASPI advocates for fair treatment of women born in the 1950s affected by changes to the state pension age in 1995. The campaigners argue that these changes were implemented abruptly, leaving millions of women facing desperate financial circumstances.

During a recent council meeting, Councillor June Cully tabled a motion to address the issue of state pension inequality and seek compensation and transitional arrangements for those facing financial hardships due to the pension age adjustments.

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Margaret Williams, representing the Solent WASPI group, delivered a poignant speech, highlighting the devastating impact on women who have already passed away without receiving justice and the alarming frequency at which others are waiting for compensation.

She said: “Since our campaign started in 2015, more than 248,000 1950s-born women have died without seeing justice.

“Nationally, one WASPI woman dies every thirteen minutes waiting for compensation. That is shocking, sad and totally avoidable.

“We could give numerous examples of hardship endured by local WASPI women.

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“We recall the woman in poor health with anguish etched on her face as she wondered how she would cope with another six years in her physically demanding cleaning job.

“Another was living on Universal Credit and could not afford the bus fare to one of our events. She explained the humiliation of having to comply with the UC requirement to keep applying for jobs that she knew – as a woman in her mid-sixties nearing pension age – she had no chance of getting. She said the constant rejections were soul-destroying.

“Our campaign nationally and locally has grown in strength since it began.

“We have cross-party support. We are determined. We are not going away. But as far as the Government is concerned, we are invisible women.”

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Cllr Cully stressed the importance of supporting the more than 6,000 WASPI women in Gosport, acknowledging the dedication and contributions they have made to society while facing unfair circumstances.

“There have been over 150 councils who now support WASPI women – we need to show that we are behind them and that we feel they should be compensated.

“How many more of these women have dedicated their lives to working, supporting families and continue to have to work past some of their physical capabilities.”

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, leader of the council congratulated Cllr Cully for bringing the motion forward and thanked the WASPI campaigners in attendance.

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He said: “I have followed their campaign with great interest for the last eight years and I congratulate the women for the way they have campaigned and raised awareness of the issue.

“These women have been dealt a total injustice and it’s the job of the government national or local that when people are wronged it should be corrected.

“The fact is that the government has had eight years to correct and they haven’t done so and I wish that they will do so before they leave office next year.”

The motion, unanimously passed by councillors, requests Cllr Chegwyn write to the secretary of state and local MP Caroline Dinenage, urging support for an immediate compensation package.