Another day… another state pension shambles: DWP must come clean over the scale its latest mistakes, says VICTORIA BISCHOFF
Another day, another state pension shambles.
It has now emerged that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discovered a computer glitch in the 1990s was causing errors in the uprating of the graduated retirement benefit.
This was an addition to the state pension for those who worked between 1961 and 1975.
The Department for Work and Pensions discovered a computer glitch in the 1990s was causing errors in the uprating of the graduated retirement benefit
Reports suggest the mistakes were small — a mix of underpayments and overpayments of a few pence each week. But large numbers of people may have been affected, and errors could persist to this day.
Experts also warn it could have had serious knock-on effects — perhaps depriving some people of larger amounts in means-tested benefits such as pension credit.
Yet apparently the powers that be decided in 2002 that it was not worth fixing the problem. This is simply not good enough.
The DWP is still reeling from revelations that it had underpaid more than 130,000 people — overwhelmingly women — in excess of £1 billion over decades.
More than 500 civil servants are to be employed to rectify the mistakes, but it is expected to take until the end of 2023 to unravel this mess.
It is mind-blowing that this is the best we can expect from those in charge of our state pension. How is anyone supposed to trust that what they receive is correct?
As former pensions minister Steve Webb put it: ‘How many other errors are swept under the carpet and never admitted?’ The DWP needs to come clean over the scale of any, and all, mistakes.
I have much sympathy for renters — it wasn’t too long ago that I was one. Not only is it often far more expensive than paying a mortgage each month, it can take for ever to get basic repairs done and there is less stability.
Yet, while I agree that more needs to be done to stop renters being taken for a ride and left to live in squalid conditions, I draw the line at forbidding landlords from imposing blanket bans on pets.
We’re devoted cat people in my house. But I’ve seen first-hand the extraordinary levels of damage our furry feline friends can inflict on wallpaper and furniture.
Even if tenants are required to take out insurance, it seems unreasonable to force all landlords to accept this risk. It is their property, after all.
After getting a new bank card, my husband was prompted to update his payment details for our Alexa music streaming service.
Yes, I know it’s an extravagance when we have a much-loved record player, but being able to shriek song requests from anywhere in the house provides us with hours of entertainment.
While scrolling through his phone we noticed he was also paying £9.99 a month for something called Apple News+. He’d thought the app was free and hadn’t noticed the money leaving his account — which is all too easily done.
If you, too, might be paying for forgotten services, hit your phone’s ‘Settings’ section and search ‘Subscriptions’. A list of any active services should pop up so you can cancel. It takes all of 30 seconds.
Tales of your glorious Premium Bond victories are still flooding in. One reader says that since he and his wife started buying Premium Bonds in 1986, they’ve pocketed 650 wins worth £29,500 — including three £1,000 prizes!
According to his spreadsheet, this prize money works out at about 6 per cent interest a year.
Not bad considering a top easy-access account pays 1.35 per cent — and, as he says, they are still in with a chance of winning a million.
I should add that your cheerful letters have also been spotted by the NS&I chief executive Ian Ackerley.
He says: ‘I wanted to thank Money Mail readers for sharing their stories about Premium Bonds over the last couple of weeks. I’ve really enjoyed reading them and they have brought a smile to my face.
‘Premium Bonds evoke such special memories for all of us. I remember having them when I was younger and crossing my fingers each month for a prize from ERNIE. Thank you again and good luck in next month’s draw.’ Hear, hear: only nine days to go!