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Pensions committee investigates why WASPI complaints are being closed ahead of state pension age judicial review

20th December 2018 12:35

Stephen Little from interactive investor

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The parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee is investigating why complaint cases from women affected by state pension age changes have been closed ahead of a judicial review. 

Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the cross-party Work and Pensions Select Committee, has written to the pensions minister Guy Opperman for further information on complaints made by women born in the 1950s hit by changes to the state pension age.

It comes after a high court judge granted a judicial review to determine whether recent increases to women’s state pension age were lawful.

  • Victory for campaign groups as high court orders judicial review of women's state pension age increases

Writing in the letter, dated 12 December, Mr Field says the committee has received a number of complaints from women affected by the changes to the state pension age accusing the Department for Work and Pensions of maladministration.

He says that the committee has received evidence that the Independent Case Examiner, which reviews complaints about government departments, has closed the cases of several women ahead of the upcoming judicial review.

Mr Field asked for confirmation of the number of cases closed following the announcement of the judicial review. The chair also requested a reason why the cases were being closed, which at this time is unclear. 

The MP also requested information on how many more cases the minister expected to close and what legal advice the DWP took before closing cases. 

In a reply, Mr Opperman admitted he would not be able to answer Mr Field’s request in time for the 18 December deadline, but said he would follow up with a response "as soon as possible".

The Royal Court of Justice granted BackTo60, a campaign group representing women who have been affected by the rise in state pension age, a judicial review in November.

  • Historic rise in state pension age could cost people up to £8,000

State pension changes for women

The state pension age for women was raised in November to 65 – the same as men – for the first time.

It has been steadily rising from 60 since 2011 and in 2020 the age for both sexes will rise to 66.

However, the increase in age to the state pension has drawn widespread criticism.

  • UK state pension should be means tested, says International Monetary Fund

Campaign groups such as BackTo60 and Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) argue that many women born in the 1950s were not warned of the changes and as a result have suffered financial hardship.

Some women stopped working after expecting to receive a pension, but the changes have left them with little time to make alternative plans.

This article was originally published in our sister magazine Moneywise, which ceased publication in August 2020.

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