On Tuesday 3rd August Mary wrote to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, and the Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, in light of the ruling by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) that stated that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had failed in properly communicating changes to the State Pension age.
Mary’s letter calls for the Government to apologise for the failings of the DWP and fully compensate the women that the miscommunicated change in pension age affected.
The letter has been reported by local and national press, with the Northern Echo saying
The ruling marks a “significant victory” for the Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaign.
The Northern Echo article highlights the manifesto commitment that Mary was elected on, to compensate the women that lost out on money as a result of the lack of communication from the DWP. Mary said to a local campaign group:
I was proud to be elected on a manifesto that would have compensated women born in the 1950s who were essentially robbed of their full pensions due to unfair changes to State Pension Age – changes which were imposed by the Conservative Government.
That’s why I’ve written to the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey MP and the Minister for Pensions, Guy Opperman MP, following the Ombudsman’s recent ruling of maladministration, to ask for a full apology for the failings of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Mary’s letter was also highlighted by the Financial Times, who reported on the call for compensation also noting the feeling of campaign groups to the PHSO’s ruling.
Campaign groups BackTo60 and the Women Against State Pension Inequality have claimed over the years that when the 1995 Conservative government’s Pensions Act included plans to raise the women’s state pension age to 65 — the same as men’s — the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.
Mary eagerly awaits a response from Secretary Coffey and Minister Opperman and will update all those involved in this very important campaign as soon as such a response materialises.
Find the full text of Mary’s letter below:
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to you following the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s ruling on 20th July which found that there were “failings in the way the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) communicated changes to women’s State Pension age.”
In the City of Durham constituency there are around 5,600 women who have been impacted by the changes that were not adequately communicated by DWP. I agree with the Ombudsman that this constitutes a failing and that the DWP have severely let down these women in the City of Durham and indeed across the entire country.
Not only have many of these women lost out on thousands of pounds, they are struggling to find employment, are financially dependent on their husbands or partners, and are navigating a complicated welfare benefit system. The financial situation for many of these women has been made worse as a result of the pandemic, especially for women whose jobs are in the hospitality and domestic sectors. These women have endured years of mental anguish brought about by the now proven failings of your department.
The women affected by the failings of the DWP deserve better. They deserve a full apology from the Government, as well as full and proper financial compensation.
Mary Kelly Foy MP