Pension Justice stalemate: WASPI and Backto60 step up rival campaigns just as the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt plans new spending cuts

Jeremy Hunt, the new chancellor of the Exchequer

And a Parliamentary Petition is laid to change another pension injustice affecting millions

The chaotic and collapsing government of Liz Truss is facing rival demands to settle the long running dispute affecting 3.6 million 1950s born women demanding compensation for maladministration and inequality over the six year delay in paying their pension.

Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool, West Derby, has tabled a motion supporting Backto60’s demand for full restitution of the lost money – up to £50,000 in some cases- payable through a special temporary Parliamentary measure – to avoid changing the 1995 Pensions Act which set the higher retirement age for women.

Ian Byrne MP

Some 35 MPs have backed him including the former Labour shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who got Labour to back a £58 billion compensation package in the 2019 election campaign; former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn and host of other Labour MPs, including Ian Lavery, Tony Lloyd, Mike Amesbury, Richard Burgon and Clive Lewis. It is also supported by Alison Thewlis, the SNP Treasury spokesperson and Chris Stephens, SNP Fair Work and Employment spokesman. Two members of the Democratic Unionist Party, Jim Shannon and Gregory Campbell, also backed the motion. The full list is here.

Chloe Smith, work and pensions secretary

The initiative from Waspi involves getting its members to send a template letter to their MP asking them to back their version of compensation for 50s women. For avoidance of any doubt here is the full text which would be sent to Chloe Smith, the new work and pensions secretary.

Chloe Smith MP

Secretary of State

Department for Work and Pensions

Caxton House

Tothill St

London, SW1H 9NA

XX October 2022

Congratulations on your appointment as Secretary of State!

I write in the hope that you may be able to ‘reset’ the government’s relationship with the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign, whom I met during the Summer Recess.

Parliamentary answers (see UIN14559) confirm that no Minister in your department has met the campaign since 2016, which is something I am hoping that you and colleagues will be prepared to put right.

As you will know, last year the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has found that the Department was guilty of maladministration, in failing to communicate significant changes to the State Pension Age, which were legislated for in 1995.  Specifically, the PHSO has concluded “the opportunity that additional notice would have given them to adjust their retirement plans was lost…DWP failed to take adequate account of the need for targeted and individually tailored information… Despite having identified there was more it could do, it failed to provide the public with as full information as possible.

While the PHSO is continuing to investigate the harm caused to women born in the 1950s, as a result of this maladministration, CEO Amanda Amroliwala has also made clear that the government need not wait for further reports before making an offer of compensation.  In a letter to our parliamentary colleague, Andrew Gwynne, she said, “We must now consider the impact of these failings on the women affected and what recommendations may be needed to remedy any associated injustice. We have suggested to the Department for Work and Pensions that they consider being proactive in this respect”.

Meanwhile, WASPI have recently commissioned research which establishes that, by the end of this year, 220,000 women will have died waiting for compensation since their campaign began in 2015.  Sadly, another woman dies every 14 minutes.

I have been struck during my conversations with the campaigners that they are therefore extremely pragmatic about achieving a resolution quickly.  They are not looking for a long fight with the government, preferring to accept a fair, fast one-off sum for those whose retirements have been devastated by mistakes made at DWP.  Specifically, they are not looking to receive ‘lost’ pension amounts, but rather to be compensated for the maladministration at DWP, which caused them to take decisions they might not otherwise have taken, had they been given proper notice of changes to the law.  Quite sensibly, they are suggesting higher levels of compensation for those given the shortest notice of the longest delay to receipt of their State Pension.

They have been through four stages of complaint at DWP and now face two further stages of the PHSO process.  All the while more of the women affected die waiting, so they are keen to see the proactivity suggested by the PHSO from your department.

Would you prepared to meet with me and with Angela Madden, the Chair of the campaign, together – both so that you can understand the (surprisingly reasonable and pragmatic) position of the campaign, and that they can hear directly from you?

While both they and I recognise that you could not make immediate commitments in any such meeting, I do believe it would be helpful to open a dialogue now rather than have the group getting more and more frustrated that government will not talk to them.  The PHSO’s ongoing investigation is not a reason to postpone discussion, since the substance of maladministration has already been confirmed.

At some point, government (of whichever political stripe) is going to be required by the Ombudsman to make an offer of compensation, so it makes sense to begin the conversation now rather than brooking further delay, during which time – sadly – more and more of the affected women will pass away.

WASPI want compensation for maladministration and nothing for restitution

The letter is a massive reduction on the demands made by the MPs. For a start they want NO rather than FULL restitution for the up to £50,000 lost by 3.6million pensioners. Instead they want an unspecified payment before the Ombudsman decides what level of compensation for maladministration. There is no mention of the £10,000 to £20,000 a head compensation promised by Angela Madden to the 50 people attending the Labour Party fringe meeting last month.

There also is a misconception that the Department for Work and Pensions is required by the Ombudsman to meet them after he has issued his report. This is not true the Ombudsman has no power to require anybody to follow his decisions – as has been shown ( see below) in another case where millions of pensioners have been cheated out of a Guaranteed Minimum Pension also promised in the 1990s.

Finally the letter speaking for the 3.6 million people say they are “reasonable and extremely pragmatic people” quite happy to accept a fast buck settlement of few quid to end this dispute. This is not reflected in the comments I receive on this site.. People are livid, angry, despairing of politicians and feel deliberately cheated by the Establishment of what they see rightly as their dues. They are fed up about being thought to be a soft touch just because they are older women. They are prepared to take on the government and refuse to vote for any politician determined to deprive them of their lost pensions.

New petition on Guaranteed Minimum Pensions

Meanwhile a Parliamentary petition has been tabled by Chris Thompson, a retired pensions expert, to restore indexation for a guaranteed minimum state pension for people outside the public sector.

“I want the Government to change the law to reinstate uprating of state pensions in respect of contracted out occupational pensions known as Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP).

“I believe it is not fair that the DWP ceased to uprate state pensions in respect of certain pension entitlements when the new state pension was introduced. I believe this with done without adequate consultation or notice, and should be reversed. “Sign this petition

This followed a victory for two people after they complained of maladministration ( sounds familiar) by the DWP in not informing them of the change depriving them of indexation when the new pension came into force. The Ombudsman laid down what the DWP should to inform people of their rights, but the DWP has not followed this through properly and refused to engaged with anyone. Over a lifetime this could be worth thousands of pounds of lost pensions – and I urge 50swomen to sign this to put more pressure on the DWP. You might be entitled to extra compensation as well as your claim for your lost pensions.

Finally I don’t like to be the harbinger of bad news -but the total disaster of Liz Truss’s government – means we are now going to be faced with a further two years of austerity after she wrecked the British economy.

Sadly this will mean that the government will be extremely reluctant to compensate other people on top of subsidising people’s energy bills and introducing measures to balance the books. I see Angela Madden has managed to get a meeting with former Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt, the current leader of the Commons, who appears to be involved in a plot to topple Truss with Rishi Sunak. The trouble is it is the DWP who are the ministry who will decide this – and they have just been asked by Jeremy Hunt to impose more cuts on top of long term savings to sack 91,000 civil servants across Whitehall. I can’t see them having any interest in settling this at the moment.

One bright spot will be a report by Australian judge Jocelynne Scutt is expected to pull together all the injustices in this case following the tribunal earlier this year. The report is imminent.

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18 thoughts on “Pension Justice stalemate: WASPI and Backto60 step up rival campaigns just as the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt plans new spending cuts

  1. I’ve done my time, I should have retired at 60 on my sixth birthday in 2013. I had to retire 2 weeks before my 65th birthday in 2018 due to complex health issues. My retirement years have been miserable due to a pandemic and caring for my partner who died in May this year. I been robbed of £48,000 approximately. I’ve worked full time since I was 15 year’s old. As I said I’ve done my time, it’s time to do the right thing and pay out what 3.8 million woman payed in before anyone else dies 220, 000 have gone already. Why should we pay for this government’s utter shambles of the country economy. We didn’t cause the economic disaster they did enough is enough sort out now!!…

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  2. Rather a toadying letter now that the Tories are destroyed.
    Why not start “Oh Massa, I doan want to trouble you but we ain’t eaten for a month an 6 of me children done dead, but you de boss”

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    • Agree – sorry but I won’t be congratulating any Conservative minister – they are entirely self seeking , spineless, corrupt hypocrites.
      WASPI are mad to think they will get any ounce of sympathy!

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  3. I have repeatedly asked the DWP for a copy of the letter that I supposedly got from them when I got to the age of 60 saying my pension was deferred to the age of 64. I am now 70 and still waiting.

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  4. I am a 1950s woman who only recieved a letter from dwp 2 months before my 60th birthday in Aug 2015 to say I wasn’t entitled to claim my pension until my 65th birthday in 2020 I was absolutly gutted I have been ill with rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and raynauds phenomenon for last 23 yrs of my life diagnosed since Yr 2000 it was bad facing a life of pain ,loneliness and loss of independence as it was. I had no money no savings no pension nothing to leave my children or grandchildren instead I had to put on my children to survive then I heard I still wouldn’t be able to have my pension at 65 as the dwp was putting the pension age up to 66 that gap has made me sicker, more depressed,and feel like a burden on my family if my only daughter was to marry i couldn’t afford to contribute to it neither could I afford to go to it as she lives in Australia, and if I die I wouldn’t even afford to pay for my own funeral now im worse in health because bottom of my neck is so eroded with arthritis my rheumatologist told me if i had a bad fall or bump in an accident my neck could break i need to get my pension back what i lost before i lose my life not getting my pension when entitled at 60 has made me feel more of a burden not only to my family or myself but made me feel I’ve been punished for being born in that era .

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  5. How dare WASPI assume that they speak for all 1950s women.Any settlement recommended by the Ombudsban is likely to be a paltry sum as the government would be paying it as an apology for an act of maladministration by their departments and not compensation. Having had an Ombudsman agree that a company we dealt with was totally at fault in a complaint we brought before them our one off payment was £70! Plus if you accept that you are accepting it in full and final settlement and cannot bring any other claim forward regarding the same subject. We were severely out of pocket, the Ombudsman agreed the other party was entirely at fault yet he could only recommend we were paid the £70 and not the total sum we had lost. The Ombudsman have very little power to enforce anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why doesnt Backto60 Jog Right off. They lost their court cases. CEDAW never look at anything in hindsight, they are fu***d why dont they join with WASPI and stop veing so petulantly stupid?

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  6. ‘Specifically, they are not looking to receive ‘lost’ pension amounts, but rather to be compensated for the maladministration at DWP, which caused them to take decisions they might not otherwise have taken, had they been given proper notice of changes to the law.  Quite sensibly, they are suggesting higher levels of compensation for those given the shortest notice of the longest delay to receipt of their State Pension.’

    The cat’s out of the bag.

    50p for each week of stolen pension?

    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/889879/response/2118492/attach/3/FOI%2000000286.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1

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  7. I want what I contracted and paid for over 42 years! I also want the GMP element of my contracted-out SERPS payments re-instated as the government removed this requriement from occupational pensions without telling those affected. Given what Liz Truss has just chosen to do to the pensions, I’ll end up with next to nothing and much less state pension. Why do the conservatives discriminate against both women and pensioners?

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  8. WASPI has NO MANDATE to say what 3.8m women will accept.
    They should jog -on………. or spend members’ fees fighting properly through the court not hoarding monies given for this purpose; stealing from the same women Governments have stolen from yet again.

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  9. I am 65 and recently lost my job of 16 years after the organisation I worked for went into administration. I had no notice of the increase in SPA. I could have been putting a bit aside but was not able to I suffer from depression so have to keep getting fit notes from the doctor otherwise I am called in to job centre on a weekly basis to look for work. It just adds to the stress I already feel. In my head I am retired but the government won’t let me. I need and deserve full restitution not some measly handout. Anyone worth their salt knows full restitution is the only fair outcome for us in my opinion. Thank you to all who support us in this aim.

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  10. Nineteen figures born women have been treated by our country in exactly the same dodgy corrupt way as Robert Maxwell ripped off his employees pensions leaving many struggling.SHAME!

    Like

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