Women’s State Pension Age - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 7:45 pm ar 26 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Palmer of Childs Hill Lord Palmer of Childs Hill Deputy Speaker (Lords), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 7:45, 26 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I thank the Minister for bringing the Oral Statement to the House. However, to paraphrase “Hamlet”, methinks the noble Viscount doth protest too much. It is all protest as to why he is not doing things.

From these Benches, we support the WASPI women in their campaigns, and we welcome that, after their years of work, the ombudsman has finally recommended compensation. They must be recognised as courageous women, and their persistence should be rewarded. Sadly, as the noble Baroness, Lady Sherlock, said, some have died along the way.

The noble Lord, Lord Hague, wrote a big op-ed in the Times today about why the WASPI women were not going to be paid. Basically, what he said can be summed up as “They should have known better”. At this late hour, I can think only to quote from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“All the planning … and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint”.

I am afraid that what has happened is that so much time has elapsed that so many of the WASPI women have died or retired, and life has gone on.

The DWP has said, so I have read, that it will comply with the ombudsman’s decision. I would like the Minister to say how many WASPI women have died—a simple calculation, rather than the additional details that the noble Baroness, Lady Sherlock, asked for. Please will he come back to the House and say that the DWP has agreed, after consideration, that it will comply with that ruling, as the ombudsman suggested?