Suffolk campaigners say that women are ‘furious’ over new findings regarding their state pensions, which affect almost 50,000 women in the county.

Campaigners from the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) are calling for a review to be launched into an ongoing investigation into changes made to women’s state pensions.

Women born between 1950 and 1960 were affected, when the government raised the pension age for women from 60 to 65, and then to 66, bringing it in line with age that men can withdraw their state pensions.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions failed to make the women aware of this so that they could plan accordingly, only informing the women of this change in April 2009.

This failure is the subject of an ongoing ombudsman.

In July 2021, a report from the ombudsman’s found that the DWP had mishandled the situation, and could have contacted women to inform them of the changes by December 2006 “at the latest”.

However, the second stage has now concluded that these failures in communication “did not lead to all the injustices claimed”. The report in full is expected to become available in the coming weeks.

Suffolk WASPI co-ordinators Judi Moss and Karen Sheldon are bitterly disappointed with this pronouncement.

“He’s performed an about-face from what was said in July 2021,” said WASPI co-ordinator for Suffolk, Judi Moss.

“It’s been assumed that even if women had known about the changes earlier, they would still have made the same decisions.”

She explained that this ruling could have consequences for the level of compensation women could hope to receive.

It is estimated that 48,500 women in Suffolk were affected by these changes.

Of these, WASPI estimates that 27 percent have struggled to pay their energy bills this winter.

There are now calls for a high court judicial review into the ombudsman. An appeal to fund this legal battle has amassed £76,000 in less than seven days.

“Thousands of 1950s-born women across Suffolk have been badly let down by DWP failures and, subsequently, the flaws in the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report mean we have no choice but to seek legal action,” said Ms Moss, with her fellow co-ordinator, Karen Sheldon, in agreement.

“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 clear message to both the Ombudsman and the Government that we are NOT going away.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Angela Madden is the national campaign chair for WASPI.Angela Madden is the national campaign chair for WASPI. (Image: WASPI)

Angela Madden is the national campaign chair for WASPI.

She 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 that 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.”