For women in the 1950s and those involved in the WASPI movement, last week marked a significant milestone in the campaign for state pension justice, as we welcomed the long overdue publication of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s final report.

The report was clear in its findings. These women are owed compensation; the DWP failed to adequately inform women of the state pension age change; and in the DWP’s refusal to comply, it must be held accountable.

The first time I was contacted by a WAPSI woman was in 2017, less than two months after I was elected as the MP for Glasgow East. Since then, over the last seven years, I have heard from countless other women who have been affected, and during my time in Westminster, I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with WASPI women, campaigning tirelessly to help resolve the injustice that has been inflicted on them by the failings of the DWP.

We are faced with a dire situation, one that has seen around 260,000 WASPI women die since the start of the campaign, and one that can only begin to be resolved by a commitment to fair and fast compensation from the British Government.

At present the WASPI campaign group estimates that a 1950s ­woman dies every 13 minutes, and as every second passes, this results in yet another woman who will not receive the justice and compensation she is entitled to.

This is equivalent to around 40,000 of those impacted who will sadly pass away each year, meaning that those who have already passed away, have done so without ever receiving an apology, any justice, or compensation.

These are frankly appalling statistics that no politician should in any way be comfortable with. It is abhorrent and action must be taken swiftly.

But over the weekend, both the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds MP were pressed on this issue, and unsurprisingly both stopped short of committing to full compensation.

Given what is at stake, there is no excuse for either the Government or the Labour Party to not get behind the report’s findings and recommendations and commit to compensating the women who have been wronged.

But this is not the first time the Government have been made aware of the wrong-doing.

In July 2021, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s stage 1 report found clear maladministration in the way the DWP communicated State Pension changes.

Nearly three years on, the DWP has still never publicly accepted this finding.

The reality is, that the British Government knew in November that the PHSO was likely to recommend a compensation scheme – yet the Secretary of State stood at the despatch box yesterday, dragging his heels on the issue. It is entirely nonsensical for the Secretary of State to now say that he hasn’t had enough time to look over the report.

We must remember that this is not just an injustice inflicted on women in a historic sense, it is a problem that endures today, one that WASPI women must live with on a daily basis. With a survey finding that 70% of WASPI Women have reduced their weekly spending and have cut back on their food shop in the last six months.

Women continue to suffer at the hands of a broken Westminster system, one that seems content with leaving this injustice unresolved. As the UK Government continues to kick this issue into the long grass the SNP are clear in our message: WASPI women have waited long enough. It is time for the UK Government to act, and for all Members of Parliament to back a fair and just resolution.

The SNP has long fought for Westminster to take responsibility, to fix the mess made by consecutive UK Governments, and give the WASPI women the compensation they are due.

And we will continue to fight until this is delivered.


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