Owen Thompson, MP for Midlothian, has joined MPs from across the House of Commons to form a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the State Pension Age. The new group will support those women hit by the acceleration of the equalisation of the State Pension Age, first in 1995 and then in 2011.

In Midlothian, according to the independent House of Commons Library, around 4020 women are directly affected by the 2011 Pensions Act alone. 302 local residents signed the e-petition calling for transitional arrangements, which received almost 200,000 signatures nationwide.

The WASPI – Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign works to lobby the UK Government to introduce transitional arrangements for those women affected, many of whom were not notified about the changes and took early retirement, leaving them without any income.

The APPG, which was launched at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 11 May at a standing room only meeting, will be co-chaired by MPs from each of the parties, and will work closely with the WASPI campaign.

This APPG will seek to work with the new Work and Pensions Secretary, Stephen Crabb, to introduce transitional arrangements.

Speaking at the launch of the new campaign group, Owen Thompson MP said:

“We are not seeking to apportion blame to anybody. We simply want to get the best outcome for these women, many of whom have worked hard for decades without taking a penny out of the system.

“I am therefore proud to be a founding member of this new Parliamentary campaign group. I hope that the new Work and Pensions Secretary will be receptive to our concerns, and that we will soon have the equitable outcome that the WASPI women deserve.”

[Photographs: Owen Thompson MP and colleagues at the APPG Annual General Meeting on 11 May 2016 in the Palace of Westminster.]