25 March 2024

Women’s state pension campaigners press for urgent vote by MPs on compensation

25 March 2024

An open letter urging a vote by MPs on compensation for women affected by state pension changes has been sent to House of Commons Leader Penny Mourdant.

The letter has been signed by 28,000 people, according to the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign, with signatures having been gathered from supporters via change.org.

Last week, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) took the “rare but necessary” decision to ask Parliament to intervene over complaints around how state pension changes were communicated.

The letter from the Waspi campaigners says “the Commons must urgently have the opportunity to debate and vote” on compensation proposals.

The ombudsman investigated complaints that, since 1995, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to provide accurate, adequate and timely information about areas of state pension reform.

The 1995 Pensions Act and subsequent legislation raised the state pension age for women born on or after April 6 1950.

The ombudsman has asked Parliament to identify a mechanism for providing appropriate remedy for those who have suffered injustice.

The report issued last week said: “We think this will provide the quickest route to remedy for those who have suffered injustice because of DWP’s maladministration.”

Waspi chairwoman Angela Madden said: “Now that the ombudsman has made such a clear ruling on maladministration, it is up to Parliament to determine the compensation package. But MPs can only do that if the Government makes time for the necessary debates and votes in the Commons.”

Conservative MP and co-chairman of the State Pension Inequality for Women All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Peter Aldous said: “These millions of women worked, cared for families, and supported communities all their lives. They deserve the dignity of fast compensation.”

Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokeswoman Wendy Chamberlain said: “The ombudsman report must now be enacted.”

Speaking to broadcasters over the weekend, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt denied pushing the decision aside for a future administration to deal with.

He said the issue is “genuinely more complicated” than others in which compensation has been promised.

The ombudsman’s report last week has suggested that compensation at level four, ranging between £1,000 and £2,950, could be appropriate for each of those affected.

Compensating all women born in the 1950s at the level four range would involve spending between around £3.5 billion and £10.5 billion of public funds, the report said, adding “though we understand not all of them will have suffered injustice”.

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