Hundreds of Essex women donate to
WASPI legal battle against PHSO, as
fundraising surpasses £80,000.
- More than 4000 people across the UK have donated £80,000 in just over a week to fund WASPI’s legal challenge to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
- There are over 100,000 so called ‘WASPI’ women in Essex.
- Essex campaigners say women can ill-afford donations to fund the court action, but the Parliamentary Ombudsman has left them no choice, having made ‘plainly irrational’ decisions.
- WASPI has published its 12-page ‘letter before action’ for the first time, setting out its compelling legal arguments in detail.
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaigners in Essex have joined thousands of other women across the country to donate over £80,000 to a Crowdjustice appeal to fund a High Court judicial review.
The milestone marks the campaign reaching almost two thirds of their initial £100,000 target as they initiate legal action against the Parliamentary Ombudsman for ‘failing to follow due process’ in regard to their investigation of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The Parliamentary Ombudsman has been investigating the DWP since October 2018 over their failures to communicate changes to the State Pension age. This saw millions of 1950s-born women affected by a lack of notice in the rise from 60 to 65 (and later 66), plunging tens of thousands into poverty.
It is estimated that over 103,000 1950s-born women across Essex have been affected by DWP maladministration in relation to changes to the State Pension age. Of these, an estimated 27 percent across the county have struggled to pay energy bills this winter.
The Ombudsman concluded in 2021 that DWP was guilty of maladministration in its handling of State Pension age changes, saying:
We consider that, if DWP had made a reasonable decision in August 2005 and then acted promptly, it would have written to affected women to tell them about changes to their State Pension age by, at the latest, December 2006.
However, the Stage 2 report – due to be published shortly – makes an assumption that women would only have received notice of the change to their State Pension age as late as 2009, three years later than the Stage 1 report suggested.
WASPI campaigners in Essex say that women have been left ‘furious’ by the PHSO’s ‘irrational’ approach and have been left ‘digging deep’ to fund a legal challenge.
Testimonies from affected women on the Crowdjustice site speak of women being an ‘easy target’ with others arguing the DWP ‘should be made accountable for the mistakes they have made given many of the women affected are no longer alive’.
It is estimated that more than 150,000 WASPI women have died across the UK since the Parliamentary Ombudsman commenced their investigation in October 2018.
Frances Neil and Debbie Dalton Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaign Co-Coordinators for WASPI South East Essex, said:
“Thousands of 1950s-born women across Essex have been badly let down by DWP failures and the flaws in the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report mean we have no choice but to seek legal action.
“Many women in our area had their retirement plans wrecked by the lack of notice around changes to their State Pension age and have been struggling to get by ever since.
Yet – despite this – many have still managed to dig deep and donate to the campaign.
“This is testament to the longstanding commitment of WASPI women to get justice. It sends a message to both the Ombudsman and the Government that we are not going away.”
Angela Madden, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) National Campaign Chair, said:
“The Parliamentary Ombudsman’s draft report is a catalogue of errors, which has left WASPI women furious. By definition, this group of women is not well-off, having been so badly failed by the system.
However, we are having to ask people to visit our Crowdjustice page and to dig deep with any donation they can afford so we can keep the fight for justice alive.
“The upcoming judicial review provides the opportunity for senior judges to force investigators to look again at the case, and we are grateful to all those who have donated to support the action we are taking.”
For more information visit: https://www.waspi.co.uk
The 1995 Conservative Government’s State Pension Act included plans to increase women’s state pension age from 60 to 65 so that it was the same as men’s.
WASPI agree with the equalisation, but not with the unfair way the changes were implemented.
The WASPI campaign was founded in 2015 and continues to fight for justice for all women born in the 1950s (on or after 6th April 1950 to 5th April 1960) affected by changes to the State Pension Age.
WASPI is calling on the government to agree fair and fast compensation for all women affected by the lack of notice regarding the State Pension age increases (1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts) to reflect their financial losses, the sustained damage to their mental health, and well-being, and the additional impacts.