10,000 ISLAND WOMEN COULD BENEFIT FROM PENSION INEQUALITY VICTORY

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign has scored a major victory in its fight to win compensation for 1950s-born women affected by short-notice changes to their State Pension age, including 10,000 women here on the Isle of Wight.

Island Echo has been covering the long-running campaign by local group Solent WASPI for a number of years.

Earlier this year a Judicial Review went to the High Court – having raised £120,000 from thousands of affected women – to challenge a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report that claimed “[t]here is too much we cannot now know about what would have happened if DWP had written to women about the 1995 Pensions Act sooner”, and that none of a group of ‘sample complainants’ had suffered injustice in the form of financial losses, or loss of opportunities, because of DWP maladministration.

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In the first stage of its investigation into the Department for Work and Pensions’ communication of State Pension age changes, the Ombudsman concluded that the DWP had committed maladministration by failing to write promptly to the affected women.

A July 2021 report found that 1950s-born women should have had “at least” 28 months more individual notice of the changes.

But since then things have dramatically changed tack. In a so far unpublished 2nd stage report, the Ombudsman has made what it now concedes was a ‘legally flawed’ calculation about the impact that maladministration had.

The PHSO had decided to assess the injustice suffered by WASPI women on the premise that each woman affected would have received a letter notifying them of changes to their state retirement ages exactly 28 months earlier than they did. In the case of the many women who never received a letter, the Ombudsman calculated the 28 months by reference to the dates women in similar circumstances received such letters.

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WASPI challenged this approach in court, arguing that counting 28 months backwards from the dates on which women received letters was ‘irrational’ as it failed to take account of 3 periods during which the DWP had paused its already belated direct mail campaign.

In an unprecedented move, the PHSO has now accepted his approach to calculating injustice failed sufficiently to consider the potential effect of the pause periods and was legally flawed for that reason. It is the first time the PHSO has settled a Judicial Review claim at such an early stage of legal proceedings.

An order submitted to the High Court for approval will now see crucial parts of the Ombudsman’s Stage 2 report quashed and reconsidered. The draft Stage 3 report – which describes the level of compensation women should get – will also be rewritten.

Solent WASPI Coordinator, Shelagh Simmons, has hailed the news:

“This is an extraordinary result for 1950s-born women, including the many thousands here in our Solent area.

“The PHSO has never before responded like this to a Judicial Review. It’s testament to the strength of our arguments.

“We have always believed in the justice of our case and have always been determined to pursue it. Nothing has shaken our resolve. Now this victory is the foundation stone to getting a better report from the Ombudsman. And, in turn, to the fast, fair compensation we have been campaigning for all these years.”

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
17 Comments
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Andyhuff
Andyhuff
1 year ago

Who is that in the middle. Is the circus in town.

Blob Squealey
Blob Squealey
Reply to  Andyhuff
1 year ago

I hope you’re not referring to me young lady.

number 2
number 2
Reply to  Blob Squealey
1 year ago

Yes sorry hun but look in the mirror

YJC
YJC
1 year ago

Thank you must go to MP Mr Bob Seely for his continued help and support.

Rob Ashton
Rob Ashton
Reply to  YJC
1 year ago

You must be joking!!!

YJC
YJC
Reply to  Rob Ashton
1 year ago

No.sorry not joking.
Whatever your politics are – it does not matter – as Mr Seely helped this case for not only the island women affected but their husbands and families too.
Mr Seely attended many debates – and one of the last ones was over three hours.
He supported and endorsed the PHSO complaints made by local women.
Without which this ruling would not have been overturned by a MALE High Court Judge.

Blob Squealey
Blob Squealey
Reply to  YJC
1 year ago

Thank you. I’ll do anything if I think it’ll attract more votes.

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

Excellent news for many women – it is terrible how they have been treated by the DWP !

Erin
Erin
1 year ago

It’s a fact that millions of normal working class men have had to work 5 years longer than women for generations before they were allowed to claim a pension had no voice. No one ever mentions that fact. Even though men statistically work longer hours, they work in more physically demanding and dangerous jobs, are more likely to be killed at work and generally have shorter life spans. Now they are on the verge of having to work until nearly 70. No one will ever help those people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Erin
Janesville Read
Janesville Read
Reply to  Erin
1 year ago

Men retirement age was already known, they change the goal post where women were concerned

Turnstile
Turnstile
1 year ago

About time. For any men out there feeling sorry for themselves they’ve retired at 66, women receiving their pension in most cases undeniably took on the carer roles. Both for the elderly parents and the grandchildren. Daylight is beginning to dawn where the sharp rise in the requirement for adult social care, and the drop out of many (previously working) mums from the workplace is due to the cost of child care. WASPI did warn this would happen SIX years ago when the retirement age was escalated but nobody listened. How short sighted. Now watch the government sit on the Ombudman’s findings until another few thousand women of qualifying age die. That’s what they’ve done until now..

Last edited 1 year ago by Turnstile
jessip
jessip
Reply to  Turnstile
1 year ago

stop being such burdens on the state – you could have got jobs and worked – you demand equality, yet you expect to be treated differently on pensions

hypocrites

YJC
YJC
Reply to  jessip
1 year ago

Perhaps read the article?
This is not the Back to 60 Group – this is about the way it was done – and a MALE HIGH COURT JUDGE has ruled it was “injustice” in the way it was handled (or not)..

YJC
YJC
Reply to  jessip
1 year ago

When I started work at 15 I was told that if I paid a full NI stamp I would get my pension at 60.
I worked full time (with NO breaks) for 45 years and paid in full.
When I retired I had not been told that I would not get my promised and paid for state pension.
So had no opportunity to make other plans.
The (male) High Court Judge has agreed and ruled so it is not just me that thinks this was an injustice.

Yes, definitely I agree with equality and would always like to see that.
Women born in the 1950s have been treated like second class citizens in this matter.

layla
layla
Reply to  YJC
1 year ago

no you haven’t – you can read, I am not even at retirement age and was aware of the changes announced in 1995 – to say you didn’t know is clutching at straws at best

all you are doing is trying to leech money off the rest of us, because of your lousy attention to your own lives and finances.

saying you never watched the news or read papers in the past is laughable at best.

layla
layla
Reply to  jessip
1 year ago

all spongers that apparently cannot read newspapers, did not listen to news bulletins and apparently are so incompetent that they never bother to manage their own lives and financial plans.

you were all aware of the changes announced back in 1995 – all full of it and just trying to sponge off the rest of us.

Isobel R
Isobel R
1 year ago

so, what does that mean for each of us? do we have to remember if/when we received a letter? does the DWP assume if one was posted, according to their records, that we will have received it?

 

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