Pension campaigners vow to go down legal route

Waspi campaigners with Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Waspi campaigners with Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

Campaigners battling for state pension equality, including dozens from Wigan, are to take their dispute to the courts.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) launched a crowd-funding bid to pay a firm of solicitors’ legal fees to hold ministers to account for the way pension changes have been handled by the Government.

We’ve been talking about going down the legal route for a long time. It was very much going to be a last resort but the Government just wouldn’t listen.

Gill Harris

Women affected by the changes flocked to the site, which has already smashed its initial target and raised £75,000, while the change of emphasis has been backed by campaign leaders in the borough.

Local Pensions Group (LPG) Leigh, Makerfield, Wigan said it has tried its best to bring about changes in Parliament by lobbying local MPs but have been left with little choice due to the Government’s rigid stance on the issue. Makerfield parliamentary representative Yvonne Fovargue, who presented a petition from her constituency in Parliament, recently hit out on social media after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister again told the House of Commons there was no more money for pensions.

Gill Harris, national co-ordinator for the Leigh group, said: “It is the standard response we’ve heard every time. Whenever someone asks the DWP, they say there’s no more money.

“We’ve been talking about going down the legal route for a long time. It was very much going to be a last resort but the Government just wouldn’t listen. The response has been so phenomenal there can be no doubts we are not going away

“It’s also important because it keeps the campaign in the public eye. We’ve been very successful in Wigan and after we had our last event with Lisa Nandy we had eight women asking to be members.

“A lot of women who are directly affected still don’t know about the campaign yet so our main focus is to raise awareness.” The legal challenge to the Government is expected to centre on accusations of maladministration due to the lack of information and a push for judicial review of the decision.

Women affected, who were born after April 6 1951 and have seen their state pension age rise from 60 to 66 years, want transitional arrangements put in place as they say they have had no opportunity to prepare for their retirement.

To find out more about LPG Leigh, Makerfield, Wigan email LPGclosedgroup@outlook.com

To donate to the crowd-funding campaign, search for Fair State Pensions for WASPI women at www.crowdjustice.org