Waspi women ‘confidently expect recompense’ – hopes grow ahead of Ombudsman report

The Waspi campaign is seeking redress for an estimated 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who lost money when the State Pension age for women was increased to bring it into line with men. Many were forced to work on for another five or six years, losing up to £50,000 in State Pension. They believe that they were not given sufficient warning of the change and deserve compensation.

Waspi women’s hopes were boosted by a symbolic victory in July, when the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should have given them more notice of moves to raise their state retirement age.

The Ombudsman said they suffered “maladministration” because the DWP should have informed them of changes in December 2006, but delayed until April 2009.

Hilary Simpson, chair of the Women Against State Pension Injustice (Waspi) 2018 group, said the Ombudsman’s report moved their campaign “into a new phase”.

“There’s no longer any dispute about whether maladministration took place. The report makes it clear that it did, and that millions of women suffered as a result.”

Simpson that following the Ombudsman’s report, Parliament can no longer be in denial about what happened.

“We confidently expect that the next stage of the Ombudsman’s investigation will find that there has been injustice, and will recommend recompense.”

The Ombudsman has no power to refund lost pensions or pay damages, but it can recommend the Government gives the women compensation.

That means the final decision rests with MPs, Simpson said.

READ MORE:WASPI women devastated by ‘grim’ National Insurance hike

On September 6, Waspi campaigners marked the reopening of Parliament by renewing their battle for justice.

More than 20 local councils lit up town halls and statues in purple to show their support, as did landmark buildings such as Birmingham Central Library, Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Blackpool Tower.

A DWP spokesperson replied that the Government decided more than 25 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. “Raising State Pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.”

Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, finding we acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds, the spokesperson said.

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