Carol – WASPI

Story Number:Story-007
Themes: Government, pension, WASPI

Hi I’m Carol and I’m the Devon – one of the Devon – coordinators for, um, Devon WASPI supporters’ group. We support the WASPI campaign. WASPI stands for Women Against State Pension Inequality. It was formed, I think about three years ago by, uh, five women who suddenly discovered they weren’t going to get their pensions at 60 as they thought, and they met, um, via Facebook. And they, I think, messaged each other, eventually met up, and they started the campaign by setting up a online petition asking the government for fair transitional arrangements for the five or six years that we’re going to have to wait for our state pensions. Doesn’t seem fair to me that we have been, um, encouraged to be independent, to make our own arrangements, to plan, and then at the last minute they move the goalposts. And that’s why there are so many angry women. We’ve heard horrendous stories of some women having to see their homes, they’re going to food banks, they have no income. The WASPI ask is for fair transitional arrangements. And by that we are meaning a bridging pension, to bridge that gap between 60 and whatever your state pension age is now.

When I first found out about WASPI I visited their Facebook page and it really inspired me to think that actually we can do something about this, that we can find a voice and that we can jolly well do our best [laughs] to make an improvement. So I started looking for people commenting on the Facebook page that lived in the same constituency as myself. And I messaged someone and we met up and we agreed that we would find more people on Facebook in our area and see what we could do to raise awareness in Devon. We arranged a awareness raising event at a local supermarket, and, uh, we gave out leaflets telling people about the campaign, how they could sign the petition. And it was amazing, we, we soon had 30 people that we had found who were WASPI women – women born in the 1950s. We now have 250 Facebook members and over a hundred non-Facebook members who we still contact by email. Along the way, um, we’re supporting the national campaign and, um, there are often national activities: we’ve had two demonstrations in London, and there have been, I’ve – many debates, I think it might be as many as 14 debates in Parliament now on the issue.

We feel 2018 is going to be our year. It’s the year celebrating 100 years since women got the vote. I would say, if, if anyone listening to this is affected by the state pension age, please have a look at the WASPI website, the WASPI Facebook, um, page. There are local groups throughout the country, there’s a directory on the WASPI website page so, um, you can find your local directory, join the campaign, make your complaint. If the petition’s still going, sign the petition. And write to your MP. Um, and, and to everyone I would say, just be more aware, um, of changes the Government makes. If you can! [laughs].