Pensions in Moray: Women failed over pension changes, says official report
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A call has gone out for women in Moray to be compensated for lost pension cash following a report by an official watchdog.
The report concludes that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was slow to inform women born in the 1950s about changes to when they would be eligible for a state pension.
The DWP finally decided in 2009 – 14 years after the changes were passed into law – to write directly to the 3.8 million women who would be effected across the UK.
Campaigners say this delay hampered many women from making proper plans for their financial futures.
This week's report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) states: "Despite having identified there was more it could do, DWP failed to use feedback to improve service design and delivery."
Sheila Forbes from Lossiemouth heads up the Moray branch of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality).
She says the report contradicts claims by says successive governments that women were given ample warning.
Sheila added: "The impacts have been devastating, leaving many women with little to no time to prepare.
"The government needs to urgently compensate all women affected rather than making them wait even longer while the PHSO completes further rounds of its investigation.
"We have been tirelessly campaigning on this issue since 2015 and have been repeatedly ignored and dismissed.
"The Government can no longer cover up its failings.
Before the changes in the retirement age women began to receive their state pensions at 60.
Between 2016 and 2018 this was increased to 65 so that it matched the age for men.
That increased to 66 for both men and women last October.
It is due to rise again to 67 from 2026 to 2028.
Yet a further increase in the pension age to 68 has been set from 2044 to 2046.
However, it is being mooted this might be brought forward to 2037 to 2039.
Karen Adam, the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, has also commented on the PHSO report.
She said: "This is huge news for the WASPI women and massively damning for the UK government.
"The ombudsman's report has declared maladministration and failure by the DWP to inform women born in the 1950s of the change in state pension age in a timely manner.
"This report has given recognition to the injustice the WASPI women have endured.
"That injustice needs to be rectified by the UK government in giving these women what they are owed.
"I hope now real action will be taken off the back of the ombudsman report being published."