Perth and Kinross Council calls on UK Government to take immediate action to compensate female pensioners born in the 1950s

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have been campaigning since 2015
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have been campaigning since 2015 -Credit:Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Perth and Kinross Council has unanimously called for women born in the 1950s - affected by changes to the state pension age - to be compensated.

SNP councillors Michelle Frampton and Mike Williamson tabled a motion at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council on Wednesday, May 15.

Council leader Grant Laing will now write to local MPs and the secretary of state for Work and Pensions calling for the UK Government to "act now with an immediate compensation payout scheme" for those affected.

A law passed by the Conservative UK Government in 1995 said the women's pension age would increase from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020. The change hit women born in the 1950s particularly hard and was not well communicated.

A statement on the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) website states: "We are angry that we have been treated unfairly and unequally just because of the day we were born. Significant changes to the age we receive our state pension have been imposed upon us with a lack of appropriate notification, with little or no notice and much faster than we were promised – some of us have been hit by more than one increase."

On Wednesday, May 15 Cllr Frampton and Bailie Williamson tabled a motion calling for the council's support to see the women affected compensated.

The motion - tabled by Cllr Frampton and Bailie Williamson - with the inclusion of a Lib Dem amendment said: "Women who were born in the 1950s had their rights to retirement age changed from age 60 to 65, and later to 66 without being informed of this.

"It has recently been reported by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman that the Department for Work and Pensions was guilty of 'maladministration' by failing to inform women adequately of their retirement age changes."

It added: "Council calls upon the council leader to write to local members of parliament and to the secretary of state for Work and Pensions to say Perth and Kinross councillors stand by the WASPI women's right to compensation. We ask that the UK Government act now with an immediate compensation payout scheme for those who were affected by the changes."

Bailie Williamson said: "Pension inequality is not just a matter of economics; it's a matter of justice and fairness.

"These women have worked hard their entire lives, often juggling multiple responsibilities, only to be let down by a system that fails to recognise their contributions and value.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the struggles faced by these women. It's time to take action and right this wrong."

Lib Dem councillor Liz Barrett sought to strengthen the motion with a few changes and called for "immediate action".

Cllr Barrett said: "This lack of financial control and inability to plan for a decent and dignified retirement resulted in huge emotional distress, anxiety, anger, humiliation, loss of self-esteem, sense of failure, loss of self-confidence and feelings of guilt, as well as outrage and frustration at having been denied choices. It impacted the physical as well as mental health of many women and - as the Ombudsman recognised in their recommendations - not just the women.

"This has impacted millions of women and their families - and thousands in Perth and Kinross. Over 278,000 women have already died waiting for justice since the WASPI campaign began in 2015.

"We aren’t accepting that this should be another Windrush or Post Office scandal - where the government keeps kicking the can down the road - delaying action while victims die."

Seconding the amendment Bailie Claire McLaren called it an "outrage".

The Lib Dem councillor said: "These women did plan for their retirement, but the rug has been pulled from under them. They need action."

The council's Conservative group leader voiced his support and called on the Conservative UK Government to act "as quickly as possible".

Cllr John Duff said: "I think we would all agree that the ins and outs of state pensions are - for most of us - a complicated area. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) Report recognises that in the initial years following the passing of the legislation, the Department of Work and Pensions did communicate these changes properly.

"However, subsequent research indicated a lack of understanding among those affected and the need for more targeted and individually tailored information. Given the length of the transition period involved, there cannot be any reasonable excuse for the subsequent failure to communicate with each person affected in a clear, timely and easily understood manner.

"Quite correctly, the PHSO has found that good standards of administrative behaviour were not met and has called upon Parliament to act swiftly and to put a compensation scheme in place.

"Provost, I hope that the UK Government and Parliament will accept without reservation the findings of the report and implement the recommendations as quickly as possible."