Last month, the WASPI campaign called for an immediate one-off compensation payment of between £11,666 and £20,000 for millions of older women across the UK
In July 2021, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) ruled that in 2005 and 2006, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed to communicate the changes to State Pension age for women with enough urgency, finding it guilty of maladministration, and is currently investigating the harm caused.
Last month, the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign called for an immediate one-off compensation payment of between £11,666 and £20,000 for millions of older women across the UK, with the higher amounts going to those who were given the shortest notice of the longest increase in their State Pension age.
The WASPI campaign has identified some 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who suddenly found they would have to work many more years when the State Pension age was increased to 65 between 2016 and 2018 and then to 66, for both men and women across the UK in October, 2020.
However, it looks like the ‘fight for fairness’ and compensation payouts may take a while yet – despite SNP chief whip, Owen Thompson, calling on the UK Government to provide a timetable to ‘properly compensate’ WASPI women.
At the time, Commons Leader Mark Spencer responded to a number of points raised by Thompson, but did not directly address his comments relating to the WASPI women.
However, Thompson received a written response to his question from Guy Opperman MP, the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, which he shared on social media.
Posting on his official Twitter account, Thompson wrote: Their response? The Pensions Minister sent me the letter below, pointing out the PHSO investigation is a ‘multi-staged process’ and ‘what could be a three part investigation’. WASPI women have waited long enough but seems the fight for fairness will continue for a while yet.
Opperman wrote: The PHSO investigation is ongoing. This is a multi-staged process and the PHSO has not given his final findings on the overall investigation The Ombudsman’s report of 20 July 2021 concludes stage one of what could be a three-part investigation. The report made findings in relation to a specific window of time – under the last Labour Government.
It is important to stress that the Ombudsman’s investigation is not a review of the entire State Pension age increase from 1995-2011. As they state on their website, ‘A 2019 High Court decision underlined that we are not able to recommend DWP reimburse ‘lost’ pensions. Nor can we recommend that anyone receives their State Pension any earlier than the law allows’.
Opperman goes on to point out that in the 2019-2021 Judicial Review on changes to State Pension age, both the High Court and Court of Appeal have found ‘no fault with the actions’ of the DWP, finding it ‘acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds’.
He also added that in March 2021, the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.
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