Three years after Boris Johnson’s promise to help them resolve the pension dispute involving 3.5million women, WASPI women will demand answers from Rishi and Liz Truss. Millions of women rejoiced when Johnson, the former Prime Ministerial hopeful, told party members at Cheltenham Racecourse that if elected Conservative leader, it would solve the longstanding pensions dispute.
Three years later, Johnson made what many WASPI women call the “Cheltenham promise” in July 2019. Johnson was ousted without having done anything, and campaigners claim that members of the Government refuse to meet him. Now Rishi Sunak (and Liz Truss) could be paying for Boris Johnson’s broken promise to the Tory faithful at Cheltenham on august 11.
Campaign leaders want to know what the future leadership candidates will do about the report of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman that revealed maladministration in how the equalization of pension ages between men and woman was communicated to the affected. WASPI verdict, Lobby groups argue that the Ombudsman should speed up his decision on compensation, as 220,000 women died while waiting for justice in pension matters.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader at the time, said that the country owed a moral debt to Waspi women and offered them an average payment in the range of PS15,380 to PS31,000.
Liberal Democrats believe Waspi women should receive PS15,000 each, while the State Pension Inequality for Women All Party Parliamentary Group recommends that those affected by lack of communication receive at least PS10,000. WASPI verdict, Guy Opperman, the pensions minister, told MPs that it was up to the Ombudsman’s decision to determine how much. He also said that he would not meet campaign groups requesting fair and prompt compensation.
Hilary Simpson, a Cheltenham campaigner, is the leader of WASPI 18 and said that the second stage in the Ombudsman investigation will be published within the next few months. WASPI women have the right to find out where the Conservative leadership candidates stand on the issue.
Women Against State Pension Inequality, a campaign group, says the government should make a payment to women who were left behind when the pension age rose from 60 to 66 to deal with the crisis in living costs.
Angela Madden, chair and finance director, said that Opperman’s insistence on not engaging with the issue is frustrating. She stated that members have come to the conclusion that the Government is choosing to ignore it rather than address it.
The DWP has already found the Ombudsman guilty of maladministration in relation to communication changes to the women’s state pension age. The Government refuses to meet campaigners and agree to fair and prompt compensation.
Campaigners won’t give up on candidates after feeling disappointed by Boris Johnson’s promise when he and Jeremy Hunt met in Cheltenham during 2019 leadership elections. When asked about his plans to help 1950s-born women if he were elected Prime Minister, he replied that he had already made numerous representations on behalf of constituents who fell into this category. The Treasury’s answer is not satisfactory, I have to admit.