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Govt slammed yet again for injustice to pension victims

Three Court of Appeal judges have today found the Government guilty of misleading 125,000 people about the safety of their pensions making it the sixth judgement against the Government in this matter.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed the Judicial Review victory against the Government of 125,000 workers who lost their occupational pensions when their company schemes were wound up.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s appeal against the High Court’s ruling that “no reasonable Secretary of State could rationally disagree” with the Ombudsman was dismissed this morning.

The three judges confirmed that the Secretary of State’s rejection of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings was irrational and unlawful.

It also rules that he must accept that his Department caused injustices which go beyond just financial losses.

The verdict says the Government’s maladministration also led to distress, anxiety, uncertainty and lost opportunities to make informed choices about their pensions.

Secretary of state for work and pensions James Purnell intends to appeal against the decision in the House of Lords.

Pensions campaigner Ros Altmann says: “We warmly welcome this judgment which, yet again, vindicates our arguments and confirms that the Government misled trusting citizens about the security of their pension savings. But we are astonished that the Secretary of State, James Purnell, wants to appeal to the House of Lords. It is now 6 – nil against the DWP. How many verdicts will it take to make the Government see sense?

“This attitude merely reinforces the High Court and Court of Appeal verdicts that the Government’s decisions in this matter are irrational. For the past few years, it has tried, unsuccessfully, to wear us down and even tried to bully the victims into submission, by threatening to bankrupt them if they lost the case.”

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