South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper has welcomed the finding of maladministration against the Department for Work and Pensions, following a review which was carried out by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into women state pension equality across the UK.
Specifically, the review found that the DWP was guilty of maladministration from 2004 onwards when it failed to contact 1950s born women in person to inform them of the changes to their state pension age after its own research revealed that the majority of women did not know their state pension age had changed, despite a publicity campaign.
The South Scotland MSP who has campaigned for justice for WASPI women since her election in 2016, and who has held surgeries and engaged directly with women affected by pension inequality, has said that the UK Government must now act on the findings of this report and take action to correct the wrongs over 6,000 women in Dumfries and Galloway alone have experienced. The Ombudsman’s final ruling will apply to all 1950s born women affected by the changes, not just those who have lodged a complaint.
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“I welcome that, after a long and thorough investigation, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman has found that maladministration took place by the DWP when 1950s women were not properly notified of the changes to their state pension age. This is a step in the right direction. Since 2016, I have supported the WASPI Campaign and have held WASPI surgeries across the region and have attended the WASPI Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament.
“Across Dumfries and Galloway alone, there are over 6,000 women who have lost out on thousands of pounds which is rightly owed to them because of the failings of the Department for Work and Pensions. It is only right that the UK Government now act to solve this historic injustice and put right the wrongs many women born in the 1950s have experienced.
“The Ombudsman will now complete the next stage of their investigation and I hope that they will decide that an injustice has taken place that deserves compensation.”
Ann Ferguson MBE added:
“It has taken the perseverance of women who would not be silenced to achieve this significant milestone. The Westminster Government has continually refused to accept that women were treated badly no doubt hoping that they would go away, but they didn’t and they won’t until justice is done in full.”