(NOTE: Standing Order No. 3.4 requires that notice of a Deputation should be received by the Borough Solicitor NOT LATER THAN 12 O’CLOCK NOON ON MONDAY 17 JULY 2023 and likewise Standing Order No. 3.5 requires that notice of a Public Question should be received by the Borough Solicitor NOT LATER THAN 12 O’CLOCK NOON ON MONDAY 17 JULY 2023)
There was one Deputation.
Margaret Williams, of Solent WASPI was invited to address the Council. She advised that she was grateful for the opportunity to address the Board and was grateful to Councillors Durrant and Cully for raising the motion.
The Council was advised that the issue affected more than 6000 women in Gosport and that the demand was for justice and fair treatment.
In 2015 change were made to increase the state pension age and despite intial dismissal, had now been deemed to be maladministration by the Department for Work and Pension. It had been deemed that there had been poor communication to those affected by the changes.
It had taken 6 years to get a resolution and in that time 248000 WASPI women had died, losing any entitlement to compensation for the errors of the DWP. One WASPI woman dies every 13 minute waiting for justice.
The situation had created hardship, anguish and had meant people had to carry on with physically and mentally demanding jobs.
One lady had been widowed in her 50s and had to work in a carehome to make ends meet, people had downsized, had their mental health impacted, and all of this had been even greater adversely impacted by the cost of living.
People’s plans for retirement had been changed, women could not afford bus tickets to attend WASPI events, women had had to apply for Universal Credit and found the process of applying for jobs that there was not chance of being appointed to due to age and physical capability, humiliating.
There was an impact on the local community, valuable skills, volunteer time and as well as care capabilities for older and younger relatives being impacted.
The decision had created poverty, ill health and whilst there was no objection to addressing the pension gap but the journey to reach it had been mishandled and devastating.
WASPI sought to achieve compensation for the list years of state pension which had led to them being poorly equipped financially and had remapped their lives.
It was requested that Gosport Borough Council support the ongoing lobbying for a resolution.
A public question was received from Mrs Pat Williams.
Why have you decided to just make drivers pay for parking only using an app, with no other payment alternative. This positively discriminates against mostly elderly folk and those without smart phones and not tech savvy?
Councillor Westerby advised that 3G had been switched off by the telepjone company to make way for 4G and 5G, this had happened in other locations to Gosport.
9 of the 37 Machines would retain the capability to pay by card or cash, 2 in the Town Long Stay car park, 3 at Stoke Bay, 2 in Lee-on-the-Solent and one each in Alver Valley East and West.
Enforcement Officers were required to work in pairs to collect cash from the machines, and there was a charge for banking cash, the machines also required charging every few days, all of this meant that the current set up was not providing value for money.
Payment could be made by calling or texting and parking remained free for the first hours, or first two hours for disabled parking.