Expert Gareth Shaw offers advice on building entitlement to the state pension
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Barbara Keeley MP has issued her support for the 3.8million women born in the 1950s across the UK who were impacted and not told about changes to their state pension age.
In recent years, many campaign groups have arisen to tackle growing pension inequalities within the UK, including WASPI and BackTo60 campaign.
While the former seeks to rectify mistakes made to the pensions of women born in the 1950s, the former is calling on the state pension age to be lowered to 60 for both men and women.
In her response to the report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), the Labour MP is calling on the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to take action on behalf of the WASPI women.
In the PHSO report, the Government was found to have failed to take into account the requirement for specific and targeted communication on state pension age changes for women born in the 1950s.
On top of this, the PHSO accused the DWP of “maladministration” as it continued to take the same action after realising their then-response was not working.
The report criticised action taken by the department from 2005 onwards as being insufficient, with it now being brought before Parliament for further scrutiny.
Amanda Amroliwala, PHSO’s Chief Executive, said that the Government body “failed to act quickly enough once it knew a significant proportion of women were not aware of the changes to their state pension age”.
State Pension: WASPI women ‘vindicated’ (Image: GETTY)
Ms Amroliwala also said the department should have “written to the women affected at least 28 months earlier than it did”.
As part of her response, Ms Keeley cited the PHSO’s findings as being a “vindication” for the WASPI women’s goals and efforts.
She said: “After the disappointment of losing the case in the High Court in 2019, there has been good news recently that the PHSO has recently found that the DWP failed to communicate “with enough urgency” the changes that left many women waiting up to six years longer for their state pension.
“The PHSO concluded that the DWP ‘should have written to the women affected at least 28 months earlier than it did’.
“This report vindicated what 1950s women have been saying for years – that there was maladministration on the part of the DWP over successive Governments in communication about changes to women’s state pensions.”
The MP for Worsley and Eccles South outlined her plans to support the campaign and hold the Government to account.
Ms Keeley explained: “I have now written to Thérèse Coffey MP, Work and Pensions Secretary, to ask for confirmation of the next steps that the Department for Work and Pensions will be taking on this issue, following the findings of the Ombudsman.
State Pension: The Labour MP supports the WASPI campaiign (Image: members.parliament.uk: https://members.parliament.uk/member/1588/portrait)
“I am committed to continuing to support the campaign until we get Pensions Justice for 1950s-born women.”
A DWP spokesperson has previously told Express.co.uk: “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal has supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court the claimants permission to appeal.
“In a move towards gender equality, it was decided more than 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.”
On its website, the WASPI campaign outlines to the British public why the state pension change was a “great injustice” for women born in the 1950s.
They explain: “Significant changes to the age we receive our state pension have been imposed upon us with a lack of appropriate notification, with little or no notice and much faster than we were promised – some of us have been hit by more than one increase.
“As a result, hundreds of thousands of us are suffering financial hardship, with not enough time to re-plan for our retirement.
“Women are telling us that they can’t believe their retirement age has increased by four, five or six years and they didn’t even know about it.
“With no other source of income (until the 1990s many women weren’t allowed to join company pension schemes, many of us are carers or in poor health) securing work is proving impossible and zero contract hours or Job Seekers’ Allowance is the only alternative for many.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.