It comes after millions of women had their pension age risen to the same as men’s – move they said came without enough notice and shattered plans for retirement
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Campaigners today lost a landmark legal fight against rises in millions of women’s state pension age.
In a major blow, the Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed claims the hike was unlawful discrimination or a breach of human rights.
Three top judges also dismissed claims that advertising of the changes was inadequate – despite women saying they were not told and in some cases left destitute.
It comes almost a year after the Back to 60 campaign lost a High Court fight over the same issue last October. The campaigners had launched a case in the Court of Appeal to overturn that judgment – but failed in their bid today.
It comes after years of battles for around 3.8million women born in the 1950s, who are having their state pension age hiked so it reaches 66 by next month.
Ministers say the change is to make women’s retirement age equal to men’s – and have claimed it would cost £181bn to fully reverse.
They also accuse Boris Johnson of failing to fulfil a promise to help them when he stood for Tory leadership.
In July 2019, Mr Johnson promised to « return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out. »
Yet he later said it was a « difficult issue » and government has already « done our best to try to satisfy that group ».
The case brought by Julie Delve, 62, and Karen Glynn, 63, alleged the changes were unlawful discrimination, based either on gender or a combination of age and gender.
It also raised questions about how the government should have informed them about the changes – which date back to the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts.
But the Court of Appeal ruled the women did not suffer unlawful discrimination or have their human rights breached.
Judges added the women were not inadequately informed because there was « no promise » by the government that they would be, beyond a pledge that Parliament would not change the age without prior consultation.
Today’s judgment added: « The Divisional Court were entitled to conclude as a fact that there has been adequate and reasonable notification given by the publicity campaigns implemented by the Department over a number of years. »
Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton reached today’s judgment with Lord Justice Underhill and Lady Justice Rose.
The senior justices said they felt « sympathy » for the women affected but « this is not a case where the court can interfere with the decisions taken through the Parliamentary process ». »
They said it was « impossible to say » that the government’s balancing act, of making pensions affordable for an ageing population, was « manifestly without reasonable foundation » under the law.
The High Court previously ruled the rise from 60 to 66 « corrects historic direct discrimination against men ».
That infuriated campaigners – who said women had faced discrimination in other areas for most of their lives.
Carol May, 65, from Hertford told the Mirror last year: « When I first got married I wasn’t allowed a bank account or a mortgage in my name unless a man verified it. That’s how life was when I was in my 20s.
« I have had to use food banks. I have had friends go and do me a week’s shopping in order to eat.
« I have one of my heaters on in my flat when it’s really cold – otherwise I can’t afford to use my heating. »
Back to 60 – which led the case – says women had a « legitimate expectation » to receive their pension aged 60 and demands « the return of those earned dues ».
Separately, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is calling for « fair transitional arrangements » to help women financially, but not a full return to age 60.
Pension, Women Against State Pension Inequality
Actu monde – GB – Women lose state pension age fight for millions in the Court of Appeal