‘DWP can never make up what people have actually lost and in many cases it’s not even trying’
The Government’s repayment programme was launched in January 2021 after the issue was first highlighted by former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb in 2020. It prompted an investigation by the DWP, carried out between May and December 2020, which revealed there had been a systematic underpayment of state pensions to certain women.
The PAC said the cost of fixing the errors is expected to cost £24.3 million by the end of 2023, and that there had been knock on effect for those trying to claim their state pension for the first time, as staff have been moved away from their usual work, slowing the process of dealing with new applications.
Dame Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the PAC, said: “In reality DWP can never make up what people have actually lost, over decades, and in many cases it’s not even trying. The DWP is now on its ninth go at fixing these mistakes since 2018.
“And there is no assurance that the errors that led to these underpayments in the first place will not be repeated in the correction exercise. This is a shameful shambles.”