Published: 12/02/2017 13:00 - Updated: 10/02/2017 13:01

Waspi urges women to attend events in Caithness

Caithness WASPI member Lorna Simpson joined a protest outside Westminster last year.
Caithness WASPI member Lorna Simpson joined a protest outside Westminster last year.

THE group is campaigning against changes to the state pension law that are affecting women who were born in the 1950s.

The 1995 Conservative Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s state pension age to 65, the same as men.

Waspi states while it agrees with equalisation, it does not agree with the way the changes were implemented.

It claims the changes are unfair and left women with little or no personal notice and no time to make alternative plans.

Waspi has begun legal action against the Government for its alleged lack of appropriate notice given to 1950s women for anything up to a six-year increase in their state pension age.

Men were given six years’ notice of a one-year increase while women were given as little as one year’s notice of up to a six-year rise.

The meetings in Caithness will take place at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso on Monday, February 13, and the Norseman Hotel in Wick on Thursday, February 16.

Both events start at 6.30pm.

Thurso Waspi spokeswoman Aileen Shanks said it is vital as many women from the far north who have been affected speak out about how pension changes will affect them.

“It will strengthen our case to have as many letters as possible – preferably from every woman affected,” she said.

“We want to get as many women as possible writing these letters – it’s something positive we can all do.

“Many people made a start on these last year.

“It’s not too late to start or continue the process. But we should get onto it as soon as possible, as instructions for the vital ombudsman stage of our complaint to Department for Work and Pensions are now imminent.

“So we really need to ensure that as many women as possible have written and sent their first two letters.”

Waspi has also highlighted that, as of April last year, people are required to have 35 years of national insurance contributions to be eligible for the full basic state pension – an increase from 30.

Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau is also supporting the Waspi campaign.

It has offered affected women the opportunity to use its computers, to help those who do not have access to their own, on Friday, February 10, between 10am and 4pm in both its Wick office at The Shore and Thurso office at Beach Court.

Mrs Shanks and Wick Waspi representative Lorna Simpson are to travel to Westminster to take part in a demonstration on Wednesday, March 8.

The protest, which takes place on International Women’s Day, will see Waspi groups from across the UK join together to take part.

The group is also set to be joined by a number of MPs.

Mrs Simpson attended a demonstration at Westminster back in June when more than 2500 women from across the UK attended.

Last year, Caithness Waspi organised a petition which attracted around 1000 signatures and was presented to Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Paul Monaghan.

n For more information about Waspi contact Lorna Simpson or Aileen Shanks by e-mailing waspi.caithness@gmail.com or go to www.waspi.co.uk

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