AN 84-YEAR-OLD who was told to pay back £1,400 after his pension was overpaid for years will no longer have to stump up the cash.
Thomas Howes came to The News after receiving demands by pension plan operators Mitchells and Butlers.
It had been overpaying Mr Howes £1.71 a week for 19 years and sent him a demand to pay back £1,400 which left the retired betting shop manager worried and stressed.
But since his story was featured in The News and Fareham MP and Minister for Work and Pensions Mark Hoban stepped in to the row, the firm has backed down.
Mitchells and Butlers wrote to Mr Howes to tell him that the company would not be pursuing his debt.
‘I was so upset when I received the letters, I couldn’t sleep properly,’ said Mr Howes.
‘I will be writing to Mark Hoban to thank him for all his work, but I am worried that others may be experiencing the same problems.’
Mr Hoban said: ‘I am delighted for Mr Howes.
‘I am pleased that I played my part.
‘I am still disgusted that Mitchells and Butlers didn’t think about the consequences before sending out the letter and causing unnecessary stress for an 84-year old man.’
Mr Howes’ pension has now returned to its correct amount, which works out at around £7 per month less.
Mr Howes gave some advice to others in the same situation.
He said: ‘Don’t just pay it back straight away, check it out.
‘I spent a lot of time phoning around and taking advice – I even went to the tax office in Cosham.
‘Check your records and question it.’
‘I am just so relieved this has been resolved – there’s no other word for it.’
People who are looking for advice and guidance on their pensions can contact the Pensions Advisory Service, an independent organisation that provides free advice, on 0845 601 2923.