North Herts councillors criticise government for ‘failing to inform’ women about pension changes

Councillor Jim McNally leads Conservative group in support of women who have been ill-informed of st

Councillor Jim McNally leads Conservative group in support of women who have been ill-informed of state pension ages. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Conservative councillors at North Herts District Council have expressed their concerns that women in North Herts have not been properly informed by the government about increasing age limits for claiming their state pensions.

The majority Conservative group on the council says women have been unfairly treated because they weren’t told about significant changes to the state pension age made in acts of parliament passed in 1995 and 2011 which are gradually pushing back the claimant age to 65 and beyond.

Last week, Baldock Town ward councillor Jim McNally sent a letter to the Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of the Conservative Group at NHDC highlighting the issue.

NHDC’s claim is that the Department for Work and Pensions did not provide adequate information to those the changes were immediately affecting.

The letter reads: “The Council group believes that it was the duty of the DWP to communicate significant changes to such pension law to those affected in a manner that is timely, complete and accurate, to enable an informed choice to be made by affected individuals.

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“Many women are complaining that such communications did not happen, with some being given very little notice of major changes to their pension status.”

The conservative group is now calling for an investigation into whether there was maladministration on the part of the DWP, and if so, whether those affected should be entitled to any compensation.

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Under the Pensions Act 2011, women’s State Pension age will increase more quickly to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018. From December 2018 the State Pension age for both men and women will start to increase to reach 66 by October 2020.

A spokesman from DWP said: “We have thoroughly reviewed the options for equalising the State Pension age, and having listened to women’s concerns, made a £1.1 billion concession in the 2011 Pensions Act, capping the increase in the State Pension age at 18 months relative to the 1995 Act timetable.

“We are confident that we are doing the right thing to ensure the sustainability of the state pension for future generations.”

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