Suffolk's WASPI women a step closer to compensation over pension inequality after Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's finding
Members of Suffolk’s Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group has called out the government after a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) ruling.
The first stage of the investigation concluded there had been maladministration by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and it had been too slow to communicate to 1950s women about their state pension age increases.
WASPI was formed in 2015 after the government passed the 2011 Pension Act to accelerate the phased increase of women’s pension age to 65, to in line with men, from 2020 to 2018.
The group say around 3.8 million women were affected by the 2011 changes - though some managed to cope with the longer working life, for some it was a massive struggle.
Karen Sheldon, WASPI Suffolk Group Coordinator, said: “The report is a landmark moment for us because it has been a long time coming and is a vindication of what the campaign has been saying for years.
“It is time now for the government to accept this and act in good reasonable behaviour really to compensate our women for this.”
The retirement age for both men and women now is 66, after it was raised in October 2020.
Elizabeth Morgan, a member of WASPI from Bury St Edmunds, said: “After missing out on my pension for six years and no notice to allow me to prepare for this shortfall, it was very gratifying to have the PHSO make a finding of maladministration by the DWP.
“We knew this was the case but I remain angry that we have been ignored by this government with no recognition of our plight.”
Stage two of the PHSO investigation will now consider whether the failings identified led to an injustice for those involved, but WASPI members feel with the first stage findings it is time for the government to act.
Pauline Stammers, a Great Barton WASPI member, said: “We believe we should not have to wait any longer. We are calling on the Government to agree fair and adequate compensation for those affected rather than allow what has become a vicious cycle of Government inaction to continue.”
Karen said the Suffolk group and WASPI as a whole would not relent after this first victory and would carry on to get what she feels all the women deserve.
She said: “There are a lot of very angry women out there feeling that it took this long to get to this stage after it had been swept under the carpet by the government and ignored.
“The goalposts were moved for so many women who were planning their retirements, so the ideal scenario for the end of this now is for compensation to be paid.
“It has not just impacted the women involved but also their families as well, so we wait to hear from the government about this.”