Members of East Kent Waspi (Women against state pension inequality have said they are “furious” at today’s judgement in the legal challenge to the way the Government changed the pension age for women.
The High Court has found in favour of the Government and dismissed the case brought by members of the Backto60 campaign group.
In June Backto60 brought the judicial review case to the Divisional Court, which examined whether 3.9 million women born in the 1950s were appropriately communicated with regarding changes to the state pension age that result in a later retirement.
They were calling for this cohort of women to receive their state pension from the age of 60. There action was supported by other women’s pension rights groups including Waspi.
Up until 2010 women were eligible for their state pension when they reached the age of 60 but changes have seen this rise with the age at which women qualify for the state pension moving up to 65 and then 67.
Backto60 and Waspi campaigners say women born in the 1950s have been unfairly hit, did not receive proper notice and many have been left in poverty.
But a summary of the judgement by Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple says: “There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law.”
The court also rejected the claim that women were not properly notified, saying: “The Claimants had no legitimate expectation that the government would not alter the SPA without prior consultation; in any event it was clear that successive governments had engaged in extensive consultation with a wide spread of interested bodies before the legislation was introduced.”
A conclusion of the case from the court says: “The Court was saddened by the stories contained in the Claimants’ evidence. But the Court’s role was limited. There was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in the legislation were not open to government. In any event they were approved by Parliament.
“The wider issues raised by the Claimants about whether the choices were right or wrong or good or bad were not for the Court. They were for members of the public and their elected representatives.”
Local East Kent Waspi Coordinator, Penny Anne Wells said: “This is a very sad day for women born in the 1950s . It will cause a great deal of anger and distress as well as further serious financial difficulties for many women.
“1950s women started work without the protection of 1970s equalities legislation, now it feels like we are being further discriminated against in the name of equality. We deserve better.
“We will carry on our campaign for justice with even more determination. With the general election imminent MPs need to remember that 1950s women have the vote and we will be reminding our MPs of this at every opportunity.”