Campaigners lose women's state pension age battle

WASPI campaigners
WASPI campaigners
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Thousands of Lancashire women will lose out after the High Court rejected a claim that quickly raising the pension age for women was unfair.

Nearly four million UK women born in the 1950s have been affected by the changes, introduced by successive governments in an attempt to ensure "pension age equalisation", which have raised the state pension age from 60 to 66.

Two claimants - Julie Delve, 61, and Karen Glynn, 63 - took the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court, arguing that raising their pension age "unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined".

The pair, supported by campaign group Backto60, also claimed they were not given adequate notice in order to be able to adjust to the changes.

But, giving judgment in London on Thursday, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed the claim.

In a summary of the court's decision, the judges said: "There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law.

"Rather it equalises a historic asymmetry between men and women and thereby corrects historic direct discrimination against men."

The court also rejected the claimants' argument that the policy was discriminatory based on age, adding that even if it was "it could be justified on the facts".

The Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign argued that raising the retirement age for women retirement age so quickly and with little notice had left many women poorer and unable to plan their retirement.

There were calls for interim payments to women - many of whom have been told they can't now claim their state pension until they are 66.

But many born before a certain cut-off date have been able to claim from the age of 63.

Chorley-based WASPI campaigner Chrissie Fuller said: "The High Courts have ruled against us and decided that the Government acted lawfully when they stole approximately £48,000 from each and every one of us!

"This is indeed a very sad day for all of us and we are rightfully feeling indignant, perplexed and furious at the outcome.

"However, we will NOT GIVE UP our fight for justice....we carry on campaigning and lobbying our MPs...this is now a political fight!"

The WASPI Campaign said in a statement today: "The WASPI Campaign acknowledge the efforts on behalf of Back to 60 on trying to secure redress for 1950s-born women who have lost so much of their State Pension.

"The expectations of some women were very high and there will be considerable disappointment today about the outcome that the case is lost.

"WASPI have always considered our ask to be reasonable and achievable.

"We will continue to campaign both to seek genuine cross-party support in Westminster, and to seek justice via the complaints of maladministration process."

Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith said: "The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes.

"I’m very disappointed by the court's judgement today and I know many of my constituents will be too."