Women lose state pension age appeal

Two women fighting against changes to the state pension age implemented by the government have lost their Court of Appeal legal challenge.

The case, backed by the campaign group BackTo60, was brought by Julie Delve, 62, and Karen Glynn, 63. They took the case to the Court of Appeal after losing a High Court fight against the Department for Work and Pensions last year.

However, judges have unanimously dismissed the appeal today (15 September).

Judges said government moves to increase state pension age for women, to bring it in line with men’s retirement age, was not unlawful discrimination.

The ruling said: “Despite the sympathy that we, like the members of the Divisional Court feel for the appellants and other women in their position, we are satisfied that this is not a case where the court can interfere with the decisions taken through the parliamentary process.”

Campaign groups, including Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) and BackTo60, represent the interests of about 4 million women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age increased from 60 to 66 which equalised the retirement age between the sexes. However, the campaign groups argue women born in this cohort were not given sufficient notice of the change and have been involved in a long-running legal battle against the government.

Royal London pension specialist Helen Morrissey said the ruling was “no surprise” but was still a “crushing blow” for campaigners.

“While the decision to equalise state pension age across genders is the right decision there have been well-known flaws in how these changes were communicated and a group of women have faced severe financial hardship as a result. Today’s judgement has gone in the government’s favour but they have huge lessons to learn from this,” she said.

Union Unison said the ruling was “nothing short of disaster” for a generation of women

Assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Raising the state pension age with next to no notice has had a calamitous effect on their retirement plans. Those on lower incomes have been left in dire straits, struggling to make ends meet with precious little support from the government.

“It’s now time MPs intervened to give them the financial help many so desperately need.”

WASPI added in a statement: “WASPI will continue to campaign for what we believe is achievable and affordable. Compensation for women who have been unfairly disadvantaged with a rapid increase to their state pension age. WASPI is not opposed to the equalisation of the state pension age with men but it was done without adequate notice, leaving no time to make alternative arrangements.

“Women were informed directly some 14 years after the state pension age was first changed – with many only given 18 months’ notice of up to a six-year increase. Many others were not informed at all.

“This left their retirement plans shattered.”