WASPI women win victory over Ombudsman in pension-age change row

The campaigning group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has won an out-of-court victory in its battle to get compensation for women born in the 1950s whose pension age has been raised by government decision.

WASPI is not arguing that the pension age should not have been raised, stating that this was done by democratic government decision – but that the way the Department for Work and Pensions provided information about it meant that women were unable to make appropriate choices that they would have made if they had known earlier that their State Pension age would increase, and that this has had emotional and financial impacts on their lives.

The group is arguing for fair, fast and straightforward compensation for the emotional and financial losses – both direct losses and lost opportunities – that women have suffered.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has been charged with producing three reports. The first was to establish whether there was maladministration by the DWP in failing to inform affected women that they would not receive their pension when they expected to do so, and that they should make appropriate financial plans.

That report has been published and has stated that there was maladministration.

The second report was to establish whether six sample complainants had suffered any direct financial loss because of DWP maladministration, or any loss of opportunities to make different financial choices.

That report was published and stated that none of them had suffered any such losses.

WASPI argued that the Ombudsman’s reasoning was legally flawed and this would impact on decisions affecting all 1950s born women who were victims of the DWP’s maladministration and said it would bring a judicial review if he would not withdraw the Stage 2 report and think again.

A decision last week means the Ombudsman will indeed withdraw that report.

It is now considered to be legally flawed, and a court will be asked to make a quashing order (because the Ombudsman has no power to withdraw a report that has been sent to complainants and MPs).

The Ombudsman will then reconsider the question of injustice in a re-written second report that must be changed to accommodate the agreement that the original report was flawed.

When a new second report is accepted, the process will move on to a third report which will consider what remedies are necessary for the injustices done to 3.6 million women.

It must also consider whether such remedies should be given to the estates of women who have died in the time since the change to their state pension age was announced.

You can find more complete details here.

This Writer’s view is that this is not a total victory; the Ombudsman may merely seek – and find – another excuse to deny women born in the 1950s any compensation for the injustice they have suffered and campaigners need to be aware of that.

And WASPI accepts that it doesn’t speak for all women who have been disadvantaged by the pension age change. Some are campaigning for full compensation – payment of the amount of pension they would have received if the age change had not happened. WASPI does not think the government will accept such demands.

It is a step forward – but the battle for compensation is a long way from being over.

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  1. Jonathan Lisle-Summers April 8, 2023 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    I don’t remember the Tory Party campaigning on raising women’s retirement age.
    I do remember the Tory government plundering the pension sector wholesale because I was working in the financial sector in London at the time.
    The Tories needed that huge raid because their supply-side model of the economy was failing yet again. They’d already sold all our common assets in energy and water.
    It was legalised theft.

  2. groovmistress April 8, 2023 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks Mike for explaining this succinctly – there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding around this issue, especially this most recent development. Personally, I feel it was the extremely short time-span over which the 6 year increase took place, which hit hardest… especially the extra year added on at very short notice for those already hit by the increase and well into their 60s. It ruined my life for sure. Since then govt have agreed to abide by a rule of 10 years notice for each one year of increase, so they know it was unacceptable.

  3. Grey Swans April 8, 2023 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    The reason WASPI took the reports to court is because the Ombudsman was about to grant £1000 compensation either only to the 6 ladies or 600.

    At no time have us wider group of thousands who also sent off the complaint letters drawn up by Bindmans solicitors, been kept informed by the Ombudsman. We were not members of WASPI, but able to download the letters from WASPI website and send them off.

    BackTo60 group is the full restitution by various campaign means.

    Beyond the campaigning to this elected government, is Grey Swans pension group, that is endeavouring to get created a new Over 50s & Young Labouring Ages party (brand) to beat Tory, Labour and Lib Dems at next general election, which delivers when win into government by your kind votes:

    – £35,000 guaranteed compensation to 1950s ladies.
    – Unique in guaranteeing tapered compensation to half of 1960s ladies.
    – Unique in guaranteeing turning half of 1960s ladies into pensioner status.
    – Unique in guaranteeing pension age 60 for 1965 ladies in 2025.
    – Lowering men’s pension age from current age 67 back down to 65.
    – Beginning process of law for men’s pension age 60.
    – Return to early works pension age 50.
    – Age 50 full works pension for manual workers.
    – Lowered worker National Insurance rates for basic waged.

    Admin Grey Swans updated Corbyn’s manifesto and added the omitted the pension money policies learned by us 1950s ladies of our history (her-story) and that of all pensioner ladies before us. Only with Grey Vote policies can a party win into government, as that age group is the last one sufficiently turning out to vote.

    Over 50s & Young Labouring Ages party. Contact via email to volunteer as founders of the greatest women’s and pensioners’ issues party in UK history, that also brings Corbyn’s legacy for all ages into government.
    [email protected]

  4. Oliver71 April 9, 2023 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Another great article, and happy to share – but I couldn’t find a date, can you please put a date somewhere – I really do hate it when someone tells me I’ve shared an old one of yours which is no longer so relevant

    • Mike Sivier April 9, 2023 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      There is a date on it – April 8 – it’s in the small print under the “Related” articles section.

      I don’t know why this particular WordPress theme doesn’t give more prominence to articles’ date. I wish it did.

  5. Caron Choates April 11, 2023 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Thank you for this update. I was born in 1959 and this does affect me. I do hope that the WASPI women win this case. It has impacted a large number of women who were treated unfairly. Another example of Government riding rough shod over people’s rights and entitlements. Look at what’s happening in France? The Tories have eroded our democracy. Thank you for all the work that voxpolitical do as you are a voice for those whose voices and opinions have been silenced.

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