Business & Investment

Ben Wilkinson: DWP’s performance on pensions was shameful

Despair Division: DWP’s performance on pensions at this very necessary time was shameful, says Ben Wilkinson.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has had little glory during the pandemic.

When it became clear in May last year that thousands of wives and widows did not receive eligible pensions, the department told us how many could have changed in the short term. I refused to do that.

The questions asked by MPs to Parliamentarian Minister Guy Opperman were answered with little effort or worry. Congress was simply told that the department knew the “number of cases,” and the minister advised anyone who thought they might have low wages to contact DWP.

Lifeline: DWP refused to say how many could have changed in the short term when it became clear that potentially thousands of wives and widows were not receiving the correct pension.

Still, those worried about what they were missing were forced to wait hours on the phone to talk to someone. And when they finally did, they were often fooled and, in some cases, mistakenly told that their pension was correct.

The true scale of the scandal was revealed only in March of this year. A document released on Budget Day revealed that potentially 200,000 women have low wages and cost nearly ยฃ 3 billion to correct.

Taxpayers are now being treated with the same contempt during this latest turmoil.

Again this month, the minister ignored requests from parliamentarians for details on delays in pension payments, arguing that there was only a “minority” stagnation instead.

Still, I’ve heard countless stories of pensioners struggling to access important income.

And the turmoil goes beyond pension payments. I’ve heard from people in need who have been denied access to other important benefits.

Money Mail writes a lot about customer service disasters during a pandemic. Covid is still used as an excuse for long call waiting and lack of paperwork.

But people calling DWP are chasing qualified money they depend on, rather than seeking help with broadband or small refunds.

As we reveal today, One in four retired women has only a state pension. That’s why DWP can’t afford the ongoing confusion.

Congress and the health services ombudsman ruled this summer that the DWP did not properly warn millions of women that the age of state pensions has risen from 60 to 66.

And now those women are 66 years old and they have been waiting longer, thanks to more failures from the department.

It is an insult for these 1950s-born women to have to wait for a state pension every day. But keeping them in the dark is even more insulting.

At this time of need, DWP performance was not only sought after, but also shameful.

Savings shake up

The welcome news is that the Financial Conduct Authority is pushing to support smarter investments in the country.

Many of us are too cautious to enjoy the benefits of investing, and too many are too greedy to do it wisely.

Investing is a safe way to make your savings work harder, and interest rates are so low that it’s important that you don’t leave your nest eggs at the mercy of inflation in your low-wage accounts.

It’s a shame that many people miss it because they don’t have the confidence or know-how to make a successful investment.

But at the other end of the spectrum, many, especially young investors, have been prosecuted and investing money that is risky and can be lost due to improper investment.

They are obsessed with recklessly promoting volatile cryptocurrencies and mysterious forex trading by social media celebrities and influencers.

Regulators said this month that a terrifying 2.3 million people now own cryptocurrencies. And 14 percent of them borrowed money to do it.

The scale of ignorant and reckless investment is shocking and will surely end in tears. Hope the FCA isn’t too long to act.


Ben Wilkinson: DWP’s performance on pensions was shameful Ben Wilkinson: DWP’s performance on pensions was shameful

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