Le­gal re­view over rais­ing pen­sion age

BUR­TON WOMEN’S JOY AF­TER COURT RUL­ING

Burton Mail - - News - By HE­LEN KREFT he­[email protected]­plc.com @he­len_kreft

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”.

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