'I'm still waiting for justice': The Newcastle WASPI campaigners fighting for compensation

The women, all born in the 1950s, are part of the WASPI campaign. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

"I'm 70 in June, and I'm still waiting for justice."

June Roy, from Newcastle, is among thousands of women born in the 1950s, hit hardest by the rise of the state pension age.

"We started campaigning, and it went on and on, and we were just being ignored all the time," she said.

"I was so angry.. the unfairness and injustice of it all... We didn't count back then, and we still don't count."

The group of women born in the 1950s known as 'WASPI women' (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have said that the rise in the state pension age in 1995 led them to suffer financially.

Campaigners have protested outside Westminster on the issue. Credit: ITV News

The 1995 Pensions Act and subsequent legislation raised the state pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1950 from 60 to 65, then further to 66 - making it the same as the men's state pension age.

A report published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to adequately communicate changes to women's state pension age and that those affected are owed compensation.

The ombudsman has asked Parliament to intervene and “act swiftly” to make sure a compensation scheme is established in the document published on 21 March.

Angela Madden, from North Yorkshire, is the chair of the WASPI campaign. She has said she is "glad" that the report is finally out.

"The ombudsman has been working on this investigation for five years now. Three years ago, in July 2021, he identified that there had been mismanaged administration in the Department of Work and Pensions that they didn't communicate with women as soon as they should have, and it's taken a long three years to get to this stage.

"I'm glad it's finished, and it's with parliament, as it should be, as they are the only ones who can make a decision to compensate us."

Campaigners have vowed to hold Parliament to account in their quest for compensation. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Christine Smith, the co-ordinator for Tyne & Wear WASPI, said: "When we started our group in 2015, I didn't expect to be here nine years later, because I believed in the UK democratic society, and the UK Government would put something right.

"We will hold parliament into account."

While for Ellen Russell, she said that the compensation isn't enough and that what they have been offered is an "insult."

She added: "We've had to put every single penny towards this fight."

Her fellow campaigner, Denise Collins, said: "I'm not going anywhere till this is sorted out."

Both the DWP and the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson have said the Government will consider the ombudsman’s report and respond to their recommendations formally “in due course”.

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