Industry opposes Waspi women compensation

PP survey finds 69% do not support calls for compensation over SPA changes

Martin Richmond
clock • 3 min read
Industry opposes Waspi women compensation

A majority of the industry does not believe Waspi women should be compensated for communication failures over changes to the State Pension age, a Professional Pensions poll shows.

The results of last week's Pensions Buzz survey revealed 69% of respondents said Waspi women should not be compensated after a report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) found thousands of women may have been affected by the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) failure to inform them of a change to the State Pension age.

The report found failings in the way DWP communicated changes to women's State Pension age for women born on or after 6 April 1950. It also found the DWP had not acknowledged its failures to communicate the change, had failed to offer an apology or explanation for its failures and had not offered compensation to those women affected.

The PP Buzz poll also showed 26% of respondents said Waspi women should receive compensation, while the remaining 5% were unsure.

Of the respondents who did not believe Waspi women should be compensated, one said: "Definitely not it was made clear enough at the time and the cost would be prohibitive."

Another argued the government was "entitled" to make the change and gave "sufficient notice" to those affected. They added: "The affected women were in their 40s at the time so it was not an overnight change."

A third dismissed the calls for compensation as a "howl of entitlement" from "the most privileged generation". The same commentator noted that DWP communications "could have been better" but asserted Waspi women "have a responsibility to find the facts out themselves".

A separate pundit noted: "As I recall there was a lot of news coverage and general information provided at the time, even though individual notifications weren't sent."

A further respondent bluntly stated that "ignorance is no defence", while another agreed and opined that "ignorance of the law is no defence, and it sets a terrible precedent".

An additional commentator noted there was "plenty of media publicity and information from various governments over the years, while another stated Waspi women were given "plenty of notices regarding this pension change".

"Why should they? Who will pay for it?", another asked.

Of the respondents who said Waspi women should receive compensation, one said it be for "communication failures only" and not for any "lost" pension.

Another stated: "Maladministration has consequences for trustees, it should also have consequences for the government."

A third said the compensation should only be to a "limited extent" and said the compensation figures being talked about were "too high".

A further commentator argued: "One has to rely on the judgement of the ombudsman. They have looked into it in great detail and if that is the conclusion, that is the conclusion."

"Women in that cohort have typically small pensions and did not have time to build up extra," stated another.

Another said the government's communication was "feeble" and the methodology was "flawed and unfair".

Of the respondents who were unsure, one said: "While they may not have been told directly, it was regularly mentioned in the media, and many of them knew what was happening."

Another stated Waspi women should "probably" receive compensation but on some sort of "efficient means tested basis".

Pensions Buzz is conducted each week to anonymously collate our readers' views on key news and trends. Respondents include actuaries, trustees, investment managers, lawyers, pension scheme administrators and consultants. A new poll is released every Monday!

To take part, email our research team here.

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