Jeremy Hunt says government 'committed' to pensions triple lock, but refuses to confirm WASPI compensation

24 March 2024, 11:27

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Jeremy Hunt has restated the government's commitment to keeping the pensions triple lock in place.

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Mr Hunt said the government would "absolutely" maintain its promise to raise the state pension every year by wage growth, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is highest.

"We made that commitment to pensioners and we think it's a very important one," he told the BBC on Sunday.

But the Chancellor did not promise to compensate women who were hit by changes to state pension eligibility.

Campaigners have accused the government of failing to inform women born in the 1950s about an increase in the entitlement age.

Read more: Millions of 'Waspi' women 'owed' huge compensation payouts after government's state pension age blunder

Read more: Women ‘owed’ £36bn in compensation payouts after government’s state pension age blunder, WASPI chairwoman says

Shelagh hears from Waspi caller who is having to sell her flat

Speaking to broadcasters, the Chancellor denied pushing the decision to the right for a future administration to deal, with as Labour enjoys a sustained double-digit lead in opinion polls ahead of this year's election.

He said the issue highlighted by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign was "genuinely more complicated" than others in which compensation has been promised, like the infected blood disaster and the Post Office Horizon scandal.

A report by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) suggests that millions of women affected by the pension scandal should be compensated.

The payout could see the government facing a bill of nearly £8billion.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt. Picture: Alamy

Legislation introduced in 1995 raised the state pension age from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020 in order to bring it in line with that of men.

Women born in the 1950s were adversely affected, with the Pensions Act of 2011 accelerating the shift so that the change was completed by November 2018.

Around 2.6 million women are estimated to have been affected, the report suggests.

Baroness Altmann, the former pensions minister, described the report's findings as “damning”.

Angela Madden says Waspi women should be paid £36bn in compensation

"It highlights clear failings and indicates that millions of women are owed an apology, to acknowledge the impact on their retirement plans, but does not recommend the level of compensation many Waspi women were hoping for.

“An apology would be a start, but will not pay the bills for those plunged into poverty as a result of not knowing their State Pension Age had been increased. Nor will it remedy the distress, anger and anxiety for women born during the 1950s," she told The Telegraph.

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