Legal review over raising pension age
BURTON WOMEN’S JOY AFTER COURT RULING
CAMPAIGNERS from Burton are celebrating a breakthrough in their fight against raising the pension age for women born in the 1950s.
Burton’s Women Against State Pension Inequality group (WASPI) has welcomed news that its partner campaign group BackTo60’s legal team has been given permission to file a judicial review. Women born in the 1950s are having their state pension age increased by six years to 66 by 2020 – the same age as men.
However, they claim the change came at too short notice, or that warning letters telling them of the change did not arrive.
Following an oral hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, Michael Mansfield QC, representing Backto60, was granted permission to file a judicial review. When it comes round to being in court, Backto60’s legal team will present its arguments in an attempt to bring a claim against the Department for Work and Pensions, which it accuses of discrimination over the move.
WASPI has groups across the country, including the one in Burton. It was established after the Government announced it was raising women’s retirement age to 65 by 2018.
Backto60 is requesting the state pension age is kept at 60 for women born in the 1950s. However, such a decision would have cost the economy £77 billion, says the Government.
May Low, director of Burton WASPI, said the judicial review ruling would be welcomed by 4,250 local women affected by the change in the pension age.
She said: “I am delighted with the outcome of the judicial review hearing. This is a milestone in the quest for justice for 1950s-born women whose retirement plans have been shattered by the inadequate/lack of notice in relation to the changes to the State Pension Age.
“The Government will now be held to task for its refusal to engage with campaigners and the distress and devastation this has caused. They have treated us diabolically.
“We are so proud of all 1950s women who have worked tirelessly to get this judicial review.
“I personally and as a member of the WASPI steering group and local coordinator for local WASPI groups would like to thank BackTo60 group for its role in achieving this.”
From 2019, the state pension age will increase for both men and women, reaching 66 by 2020 and 67 between 2026 and 2028.
Michael Mansfield QC told the High Court that the changes affected “a minimum of 3.8 million women”, some of whom were given as little as 18 months’ notice.
Kudge Mrs Justice Lang said the women’s case was “arguable”.
She granted permission for their claim to proceed to a full hearing, likely to take place next year.
Julian Milford, for the Department of Work and Pensions, said the changes were intended to bring about “the equalisation between genders of the age of entitlement for the state pension” and to “ensure as a matter of inter-generational fairness that working age taxpayers were not asked to shoulder an unreasonable funding burden”.