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Act now over women's pension age 'injustice', Highland MP demands after UK watchdog's ruling

By Philip Murray

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Drew Hendry has demanded that the affected women be compensated for changes to their pension age, which have left them massively out of pocket.
Drew Hendry has demanded that the affected women be compensated for changes to their pension age, which have left them massively out of pocket.

Act now to compensate women hit by the rise in the pension age limit, a Highland MP has demanded of the UK government after an independent watchdog recommended Westminster apologise and pay up.

Women who were born in the 1950s were impacted when the government increased the retirement age to match that of men in 2018.

For decades up until 2010 the state pension age for women was 60, while it was 65 for men.

But a law passed in 1995 said the women's age would rise gradually to 65 between the years of 2010 and 2020 to bring it into parity with men's – a process that was later sped up by the 2011 Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition government to 2018.

The retirement age for men and women both then rose to 66 in 2020.

And these changes have left many women born in the 50s fighting for justice, with Highland MP Drew Hendry revealing that more than 7000 women in his constituency alone were left out of pocket.

The campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has long complained that the government failed to tell them of the later changes or provide adequate notice of the move to accelerate the process, which affected more than 2.5 million women.

And a report published on Thursday by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has agreed that the affected women were not informed properly about the changes, and recommended compensation of between £1000 and £2950 per person based on the cases it has seen.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is not legally required to act on the report, and has indicated that it may fight the recommendations.

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry has welcomed the report's findings and demanded that the UK government "act without further delay and rectify this wrong".

He said: "For years women born in the 1950s have been fighting for pension justice, including over 7000 women living here in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey.

"Today's report confirms what we’ve all known for years, they have been denied justice for too long. Our pension system is predicated on the contract you put in, you get out.

"Successive governments broke that contract with the WASPI women, many of whom were left with their retirement plans in tatters. The release of the PHSO report marks a significant step in the WASPI campaign, recognising the DWPs failures and the need for compensation for affected women. Now we need the UK Government to act without further delay and rectify this wrong."

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