UK - The High Court has this morning ruled against the UK government in a landmark pensions case.
Judge David Bean ruled the government had acted wrongly when it rejected the findings of an investigation into lost pensions carried out last year by the parliamentary ombudsman, Ann Abraham. Abraham had found the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) guilty of maladministration.
Commenting after the delivery of the verdict, independent pensions adviser Ros Altmann said: “The government's behaviour all along has been shameful and heartless. It has focussed all its efforts on denying its role in this affair, rather than owning up to its mistakes and organising a proper rescue."
The case against the government was brought by four claimants who lost their pensions either through the bankruptcy of the sponsoring company or through the winding up of the pension scheme. They represented the interests of the up to 125,000 people nationwide who have found themselves in the same situation.
The four claimed they had relied on information provided to them by the government, for example in leaflets provided by the DWP, which led them to believe their pensions and retirement income were safe after 1997.
Following today’s ruling, there will be increased pressure on the government to consider paying compensation to those who have lost their pensions, something it has so far refused to do despite setting up the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) to help those affected.
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