Backto60 women in first win of State Pension age hearing

State Pension age is central to the case brought by the Backto60 campaign, who have raised issues surrounding changes they maintain are unfair. Two women, Karen Glynn and Julie Delve, decided to bring their case, based on age and sex discrimination, to court against the DWP, supported by Backto60. The women lost their initial case last year, but vowed to fight on, with their Court of Appeal case heard last week.

However, the DWP appeared to face a setback in its efforts to argue its position in the newer case, in a small victory for the campaign. 

Last week, lawyers representing the government made an attempt to have the judicial review into the issue declared unlawful.

Sir James Eadie QC, who represents the DWP, made the argument the judicial review should not have gone ahead.

However, the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, said there had already been opportunities to have the review stopped previously, that were not utilised. 

READ MORE: State Pension age: ‘Backto60’ appeal case continues

Changes announced under the Pension Act 1995, and the Pension Act 2011 meant this age shifted upwards to create equalisation for men and women, also bringing forward the government timetable for doing so.

These changes affected approximately 3.8 million women born in the 1950s – who have become commonly known as 1950s women  – who have argued the changes, and lack of notice, have left them in the lurch. 

Joanne Welch, founder of the Backto60 campaign, previously told “Two Parliamentary Reports found 1950s women to be ‘grotesquely disadvantaged’ due to the stealth state pension age rises.

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“How then can the government go to court and pretend otherwise, especially when the Leader of the Opposition and former Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, says that an injustice has been done and that he supports us. Boris made an undertaking, which we are holding him to.”

The Appeal Court hearing represented another step forward for the 1950s women in their case. 

The group are not looking for a change to the age widely, but instead full restitution for the years they assert they have lost in pension from the government.

Last week, the court heard from Michael Mansfield QC, legal representative for the Backto60 campaign, who described the hardship many women have been forced to reckon with.

He said: “This cohort are bearing the brunt and shouldering the onerous situations that arise after the statutes come into force.

“This has been catastrophic, and their lives have been totally fractured having to face a situation of this kind.

“Besides the economic – almost poverty line – existence they have to face, it goes without saying that the psychological and mental stress placed upon them, has reduced many people to an inability to go and do what they need to do to make ends meet.”

Mr Mansfield stated that in many instances women were not given ample notice concerning the changes, and it is this which has proved a sticking point in terms of the case.

Representatives, however, for the DWP stated the deprivation spoken of was, in many cases, not a result of the State Pension age change.

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Instead, this was attributed to other social problems, with lawyer Sir James also stating it is difficult to work out whether women are truly disadvantaged by the change, because of the number of factors at play.

He added that pensions must be economically viable, and that is it wrong to have different pension ages for men and women. 

The judges concluded the hearing after both sides put forward their case.

However, women affected are likely to have to wait to hear the final outcome.

It is thought the judges will announce their decision after the judiciary’s summer recess, which lasts until October 1, 2020. approached the DWP for a statement on the matter, and a spokesperson said: “We do not comment on live litigation.”



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