WASPI women

Thank you for your email on WASPI women

I have raised this matter directly with Ministers myself on a number of occasions.   I sympathise very much with women who are in your position and much of my work in Parliament has been concerned with the inequalities women face in our careers and how that affects our wider lives, I also co-chair the Women and Work APPG.

While a Department of Work and Pension survey in 2009 suggested that more than “50% of women were unaware of their correct State Pension age”. The High Court (2019) and the Court of Appeal (2020) found no fault with the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions. The courts made it clear that under successive Governments dating back to 1995, the action taken was entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds. During these proceedings, the Court of Appeal held that the High Court was entitled to conclude as a fact that there had been “adequate and reasonable notification given by the publicity campaigns implemented by the Department over a number of years.”

However, I know how many women have been affected and it is disappointing that the DWP did not ensure that everyone who was going to be affected were constantly warned since it was announced in 1995 in the Pensions Act. We have to make sure we have a good financial education in schools so that people can understand the impact of changes in legislation on their finances and how it is important to check throughout the working life but I agree that the DWP should have made more effort.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has published its report on the changes to the State Pension age communications. Which you can read more about here. In his report, the Ombudsman did find that the DWP failed to adequately communicate changes to Women’s State Pension age, however he did not find that 1950s-born women have suffered direct financial loss. He recommended that those affected should be compensated, with a recommended pay-out between £1,000 and £2,950 a person.

I will continue to follow this process closely alongside my role in supporting women and working towards removing inequalities for us.