Falkirk campaigner celebrates victory over DWP

A group’s continuing fight against pension inequality enjoyed an important victory when a parliamentary group highlighted failings in the Department of Work and Pensions’ approach to raising the state pension age.

By James Trimble
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 3:26 pm

Falkirk Woman Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) group member May Rookes, from Carronshore, welcomed recent findings of the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman, that stated the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was basically guilty of maladministration, by failing to contact women in a timely manner about the changes it made to the state pension age in October last year, when it raised the retirement age of women from 60 to 66.

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She said: “This is a big thing for WASPI because it is vindication for what we have always said and now the Ombudsman has said the same thing. WASPI never asked for the DWP to lower the state retirement age back to 60, we knew that would never happen.

Falkirk WASPI campaigner May Rookes welcomed the ruling against the DWP

"We just wanted them to make some kind of compensation payment to meet us halfway. When the change to the retirement age was made, men went up a year from 65 to 66, but women went up six years, which is a long wait for them to receive their pension and it had a big impact on people’s lives.

"It’s been a long fight and some of the women involved have now reached 66, but they are still supporting WASPI.”

The ruling was also welcomed in the UK parliament, where calls were made once more to ensure the women affected by the DWP’s decision to raise the pension age are suitably compensated.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said: “After years of being ignored and dismissed by Westminster, this ruling is a vindication for all the WASPI women in their tireless campaign for justice.

“It’s crucial the UK Government listens to the Ombudsman’s findings and acts on the recommendations once published in due course. My colleagues and I will continue to stand with Scotland’s WASPI women until they secure the fair compensation they deserve.”

The DWP stated its actions had the support of the High Court and Court of Appeal and said it had been decided – in a move towards gender equality – over 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.

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