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LETTER: WASPI - speech was amazing

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James Harvey, the Liberal Democrat candidate in the recent Hucknall North, Ashfield District Council elections, invited two Hucknall members of the Notts WASPIs (Women Against State Pension Inequality) to address the East Midlands Lib Dem Conference.The motion was put forward by Karen Handley, a Hucknall WASPI member, and was passed unanimously.

Karen gave an amazing speech (I know it was amazing, as I co-wrote it!) and we were delighted with the warm welcome we received from Lib Dem members from all over the East Midlands, including Hinckley & Bosworth, who also have a large, very active WASPI group. Many Lib Dem members promised to sign our online petition, which can be found on the national WASPI website or on the Government petition website.

Karen explained that WASPI were not asking for the pension age to be rolled back to 60, and never had, although many people believe wrongly, that is what we are asking for. WASPI is asking for transitional payments for women, who were not given time to prepare for a large jump in the State Pension age. Many of us only heard about the changes when coming up to our 60th birthdays, through the media, or by word of mouth from friends. The Government has stated that in future they will give 10 years notice of ANY changes to the State Pension, which is far too late for women born in the 1950s. Theresa May, the Prime Minster, keeps saying in Parliament that no woman has had to wait for more than 18 months. This is only true of a small number of women, the vast majority of us are still waiting for anything up to six or seven years. WASPI has an online membership of over 76,000+ as well as many local groups, throughout the UK, including Nottinghamshire, which is led by Colleen Eales, Co-ordinator. We are the largest organised women’s campaign since the Suffragettes a hundred years ago.It does seem ironic that it has been 100 years this year, since the death of Emily Wilding Davison, and women are once again lobbying the Government. Who? You might be asking. Well the name might not mean anything to you – but I am sure you are aware of the controversy of 1913, over the 40-year-old Suffragette who was fatally injured at the Epsom racecourse during the Derby, under the hooves of the King’s horse. People still visit Emily’s grave in Morpeth, Northumberland.

If anyone has been affected by these pension changes and would like to join us or receive more information, you can find us on the “North and South Notts WASPI Group” page. You can also get information on the National WASPI Facebook page. If you are not online, Colleen Eales, our lovely Notts Co-ordinator, will be happy to advise on 07813203518.

Rosemarie Buxton

WASPI member

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