Women cel­e­brate pen­sions vic­tory

Cam­paign­ers get go-ahead to chal­lenge govern­ment in High Court:

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Front Page - SAM TOBIN [email protected]­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

WOMEN af­fected by changes to the state pen­sion age have won the first stage of their High Court chal­lenge against the Govern­ment.

Dozens of af­fected women cel­e­brated out­side the Royal Courts of Jus­tice after their claim that they were un­law­fully dis­crim­i­nated against was al­lowed to pro­ceed.

Three women who were born be­tween 1950 and 1953 claim the rais­ing of their pen­sion age from 60 to 66 dis­crim­i­nates against them on the grounds of their age and sex, and that they were not prop­erly in­formed of the changes in time to ad­just.

They have been sup­ported by women across the West Coun­try, in­clud­ing dozens who gath­ered in Glouces­ter yes­ter­day, de­liv­er­ing a let­ter to the city’s Tory MP Richard Gra­ham.

Michael Mans­field QC, rep­re­sent­ing the claimants, 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.

At a hear­ing in Lon­don yes­ter­day, Mrs Jus­tice Lang said the women’s case was “ar­guable” and granted per­mis­sion for their claim to pro­ceed to a full hear­ing.

The Govern­ment in­tro­duced changes to the state pen­sion age – most re­cently in 2011 – in an at­tempt to en­sure ‘pen­sion age equal­i­sa­tion’, so that women’s pen­sion age matched that of men.

But Mr Mans­field said those women af­fected, who would have to wait up to six years longer for their pen­sion, had been left in a “pow­er­less” po­si­tion, adding: “Sud­denly they have to re­train, sud­denly they have to find a new job.”

He sug­gested the Govern­ment had “made it clear that the real ob­ject of this ex­er­cise has been cost-cut­ting and sav­ing money”, and that there was “no ques­tion of pol­icy prin­ci­ple here”.

Cather­ine Rayner, also rep­re­sent­ing the claimants, said the changes meant that “£5.3 bil­lion (has been) saved from women”.

She said the women’s pre­vi­ous pen­sion age was “a fun­da­men­tal part of the fi­nan­cial make-up of their lives”.

She added that the changes had a “sig­nif­i­cant ad­verse im­pact, im­pact­ing only on women – and only women – who were in the co­hort born in the early 1950s”.

Ju­lian Mil­ford, for the De­part­ment for 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”.

Self-em­ployed Maud Lomberg, aged 62, from Cirences­ter, Glouces­ter­shire, has been cam­paign­ing on the is­sue for sev­eral years.

She claims to have lost £52,000 in pen­sion pay­ments as a re­sult of the move to put back the age. She also says she was given only three years’ no­tice.

After the hear­ing yes­ter­day, she said: “It has turned my dreams into a night­mare. I had plans not to be work­ing, to be en­joy­ing my life – but I’m still work­ing and I was forced to live with de­ci­sions I made think­ing I would be re­tir­ing at the age of 60.

“The en­gine went on my van in 2011. If I knew I’d still be work­ing now I may have bought my­self a new

I had plans not to be work­ing, to be en­joy­ing my life – but I’m still work­ing MAUD LOMBERG

van in­stead of a tem­po­rary sit­u­a­tion.”

David Drew, Labour MP for Stroud, has been sup­port­ing the women.

He said: “Hav­ing backed the 1950s women’s strug­gle for state pen­sion jus­tice for a long time I’m very pleased at the judge­ment in their favour. The Govern­ment must now re­spond pos­i­tively.”

Cam­paign­ers cel­e­brate out­side the Royal Courts of Jus­tice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.