From Vix Lowthion, Freshwater:

Regarding Bob Seely MP’s statement in the House this week on the WASPI campaign for fair pensions for women born in the 1950s.

Could our MP be any more patronising? While representing the WASPI women he referred to them in the House of Commons debate as “found in the women’s institute, making jam”!

These women are strong, skilled, independent workers who are having to find time to fight against poverty, discrimination and unfairness.

They are seeking not only a transitional arrangement, but compensation (which Mr Seely does not support). Many are forced into full-time work while also caring for husbands and children at an age where they had not known the government had such plans.

Mr Seely says “it would have been nice” for the budget to recognise their position. It actually would have been fair, equitable and supportive for government to listen to the WASPI women. Instead, the Conservative pensions minister refused to take on board such demands, as it ‘would be unfair to others’.

Government must listen to the WASPI women and act. Their dreadful situation is part of a much wider gender pay gap, which effectively sees women work for free from November 3 this year when average salaries are compared. Government must address this through greater support for mothers and women to take on caring responsibilities which affect their earning potential.

Additionally, Mr Seely spoke of ‘waving placards’ in a derogatory fashion. In reality, this is an activity which comes as a result of his party’s policies and his party’s failure to listen.

I see an increasing number of us who ‘play a positive role in our communities’ have been forced under his government to protest against NHS cuts, education failures, environmental disasters and gender inequality. Rather than dismissing us all as ‘natural protesters’, he would do well to sit down, listen, speak up and act in the best interest of his constituents.

Below is a quote from Mr Seely’s contribution to the WASPI debate:

“10,000 or so WASPI women in my constituency are certainly not natural protesters who wave a placard at the first opportunity. In fact, they have played a very positive role in our communities throughout the years.

“They are to be found in the women’s institute, making jam, and in many other voluntary groups.

“It is deeply disappointing that any government should treat them in such a disrespectful way. Considering that the Chancellor announced more money in the recent Budget, it would have been nice if that Budget had given the WASPI women some recognition.”