Acceleration of WASPI investigation into State Pension age communications is a significent step forward, says MP Richard Thomson
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North-east MP Richard Thomson has welcomed an announcement from the Parliamentary And Health Service Ombudsman that the investigation into the UK Government’s communication of changes to women’s State Pension age is being accelerated.
Following research carried out for the WASPI campaign by Statista which show nearly quarter of a million women will have died waiting for pension compensation by the end of this year, Mr Thomson urged Pensions Minister Guy Opperman to start the process of implementing compensatory payments, or interim payments, to those affected.
The Pensions Minister declined to do so.
Now, however, the Ombudsman has announced that the approach to the investigation is to be updated to consider what action the Department For Work And Pensions should be taking to remedy the injustice.
Commenting, MP Richard Thomson said: “This is a significant and very welcome intervention by the Ombudsman and comes just days after Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss told an audience that it was unlikely her government would pay out any compensation.
“The Ombudsman process is very thorough and fair but it is not quick, particularly when events of over 20 years ago require looking into.
"It’s a three-stage process and Stage One has already found in favour of the WASPI women in that there was maladministration on the part of the UK Government.
“The Pensions Minister rejected my plea to start putting in place the arrangements for paying compensation to those affected so when the Ombudsman’s final decision came people were not left waiting any longer than necessary.
"Now, however, the Ombudsman has announced that it will include consideration of what the remedy for those affected should be at Stage Two of the process.
"This will mean a quicker outcome and, hopefully, quicker compensation for those affected.”
In a letter to Mr Thomson, the Ombudsman stated: “In order to conclude the investigation as efficiently as possible we are adjusting our approach to the remainder of this investigation.
"We are going to begin considering what action we think DWP should take to remedy the injustice now.
"We will share our provisional views about remedy with the complainants, their MPs, DWP and the ICE once we have considered any further evidence we receive about our provisional views for stage two.
“We will then go on to publish our findings about the issues we are considering at stage two and remedy at the same time.
"This adjustment to our approach will minimise complainants’ wait for our findings about remedy.”