Member of the Senedd Ken Skates wants women in his constituency who have been affected by state pension age increases to be awarded compensation by the UK Government.
The Clwyd South MS said the Women Against State Pension Injustice (Waspi) campaign have been vindicated after a watchdog’s investigation found there were failings in the UK Government’s communication of the changes.
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should have told the women – who maintain they did not know the retirement age was rising until it was too late to prepare – more than two years earlier than it did.
Mr Skates said: “This has been a long-running campaign which my colleague Susan Elan Jones worked extremely hard on during her time as MP, and this is a big finding. Nearly four million women have been affected by the state pension age changes, including many in Clwyd South and across North Wales.”
Women born in the 1950s have long said the lack of information around the decision to increase their retirement age from 60 to 65 resulted in financial and emotional distress, with research in 2005 finding that only 43% knew their pension age was changing. The state pension age for both men and women has now increased to 66.
Mr Skates said: “The Ombudsman has now said what the campaigners have said all along. Maladministration has been established and these women should be compensated. I would expect all MPs across North Wales to make the same case to the UK Government so they can finally get justice for what they’ve been put through.”
Former Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones presented a petition to Parliament on behalf of Waspi campaigners in her consistency. Although no longer a Member of Parliament, she remains a strong supporter of the campaign.
She said: “This is a major breakthrough. There is still a long road ahead for these women to get the justice they deserve, but this backs up everything the campaigners have said and finally acknowledges that the DWP were in the wrong.
“This has had a huge impact on so many women who were given no time to make proper plans for their retirement. I hope this is the beginning of the end of their tireless campaign.”
The next stage of the Ombudsman’s investigation will consider the impact of the DWP’s failings, and could recommend affected women receive compensation from the Government.